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USCG MCPO Collar
U.S. Coast Guard
Master Chief
Petty Officer
Cap & Collar device

USCG MCPO
U.S. Coast Guard
Master Chief
Petty Officer
insignia

MCPO GC
Good conduct
Rating badge

MCPO collar

U.S. Navy
Master Chief
Petty Officer
Cap & Collar Insignia

Master Chief Petty Officer is the ninth, and highest, enlisted rate (paygrade E-9) in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above Senior Chief Petty Officer. They are referred to as Master Chief in most circumstances. They constitute the top 1% of the enlisted force of the Navy.

Advancement to Master Chief Petty Officer is similar to that of Chief Petty Officer and Senior Chief Petty Officer. It carries requirements of time in service, superior evaluation scores, selection by a board of Master Chiefs. Similarly, Senior Chief Petty Officers and Chief Petty Officers are chosen by selection boards.

Petty Officers of all grades possess both a rate (the enlisted term for rank) and rating (job, similar to a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in other branches). The full title is a combination of the two. Thus, a Master Chief Petty Officer, who has the rating of Fire Controlman would properly be called a Master Chief Fire Controlman.

Each rating has an official abbreviation, such as FC for Fire Controlman, FT for Fire Control Technician, or STS for Sonar Technician Submarines. When combined with the rate abbreviation, it produces the full rate designation, such as FCCM for Master Chief Fire Controlman. It is not uncommon practice to refer to the master chief by this short hand in all but the most formal correspondence (such as printing and inscription on awards). Mostly, though, they are simply called "Master Chief", regardless of rating. In certain rates, where the rate istelf is split into two, or more designations, the third letter is often dropped when the rank of Master Chief is attained, such as STS (Sonar Technican, Submarines), and STG (Sonar Technician, Surface), upon reaching Master Chief, the final letter of the designation is dropped from the official abbreviation, and is shown as STCM, or Sonar Technician, Master Chief Petty Officer.

The rate insignia for a master chief is a white eagle with spread wings above three chevrons. The chevrons are topped by an arc that goes behind the eagle. Two inverted silver stars (a reference to the stars used on the sleeves of line officers) are placed above the eagle. Between the arc and the top chevron is the specialty mark of the enlisted rating. This is used on the Service Dress Blue, Dinner Dress Blue Jacket, and Dinner Dress White Jacket uniforms. On other uniforms, the insignia used for shirt collars and caps is the one that has become universally accepted as the symbol of the Chief Petty Officer. This is a gold foul anchor (note: the proper term is "foul anchor", not "fouled") superimposed with a silver "USN" (Navy) or a silver shield (Coast Guard). As on the rating badge, this is capped by two five-pointed stars, showing one ray down.

Command Master Chief Petty OfficerEdit

CMDCM, SDB

CMDCM rating badge

Master Chief Petty Officers are generally considered to be the technical experts in their fields. They serve at sea and ashore in commands of all sizes. Many Master Chiefs choose to enter the Command Master Chief Petty Officer Program. If selected they receive additional leadership training and are assigned to commands as the Command Master Chief (CMC). The Command Master Chief is the senior enlisted person at a command and as such works as a liaison between the Commanding Officer and the enlisted ranks, serving as the senior enlisted leader. In this capacity the CMC assists the commanding officer in issues of quality of life, discipline, training, and morale. On Submarines, the CMC is called the Chief of the Boat or "COB".

Fleet/Force Master Chief Petty OfficerEdit

FMCPO

FLTCM and FORCM rating badge

These two ranks are equivalent and their insignia is also the same—a master chief rating badge with two gold stars above the eagle and a gold star for the rating insignia.

Force Master Chief Petty OfficerEdit

These are Master Chiefs who have virtually the same responsibility as Command Master Chiefs, but Force Master Chief Petty Officers (FORCM) are responsible for larger force commands: e.g., Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet. There are ten Force Master Chief positions in the Navy. Naval Education and Training, Bureau of Medicine, Naval Reserve Force, Naval Air Force Pacific, Naval Air Force Atlantic, Naval Surface Forces Pacific, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic, Naval Submarine Forces Pacific, Naval Submarine Forces Atlantic, and the Force Master Chief Petty Officer of the Seabees.

Fleet Master Chief Petty OfficerEdit

These are Master Chiefs who have virtually the same responsibility as Command Master Chiefs, but Fleet Master Chief Petty Officers (FLTCM) are responsible for larger fleet commands: e.g., U.S. Pacific Fleet. There are Five Fleet Master Chief positions in the Navy.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the NavyEdit

MCPON

MCPON rating badge

There exists one post, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, (MCPON, pronounced "Mick-Ponn") which is unique. The holder of this post is the most senior enlisted member in the U.S. Navy. The MCPON adds a third star above the rating insignia described earlier, and all three stars are gold (silver on the gold foul anchor collar device). Likewise, the rating specialty mark is replaced by a gold star. In December 2008, Rick D. West assumed the role of MCPON, replacing Joe R. Campa.[1]

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast GuardEdit

USCG MCPOCG

MCPOCG rating badge

The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) is the most senior enlisted member in the U.S. Coast Guard. The MCPOCG adds a third star above the rating insignia described earlier, and all three stars are gold (silver on the gold foul anchor collar device). Likewise, the rating specialty mark is replaced by a gold shield. The current Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard is Michael P. Leavitt.

Popular cultureEdit

  • In the 2000 film Men of Honor, the character Leslie William "Billy" Sunday (portrayed by Robert De Niro) is a U.S. Navy diver with the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer. This film is based on real life events of Carl Brashear, the first black man to be accepted into the salvage divers school and eventually earning the rank of Master Chief in his own right.
  • In the 1997 film, G.I. Jane, the U.S. Navy SEAL in charge of training the recruits is Command Master Chief John Urgayle, played by Viggo Mortensen.
  • In the Halo video game franchise, the Main protagonist Master Chief (or John-117) derives his name from the USN rank Master Chief Petty Officer

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. "MCPON West takes over as Campa leaves office". Andrew Tilghman, Staff Writer. Navy Times. December 16, 2008. http://www.navytimes.com/news/2008/12/navy_mcpon_121208w/. Retrieved January 7, 2009. 

External linksEdit

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