The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON, pronounced "mik-pon") is a unique non-commissioned rate of the United States Navy, which has with it the paygrade of E-9. The holder of this rank and post is the most senior enlisted member of the U.S. Navy, equivalent to the Sergeant Major of the Army, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is appointed by the Chief of Naval Operations to serve as a spokesman to address the issues of enlisted personnel to the highest positions in the Navy. As such, he is the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations as well as the Chief of Naval Personnel. His exact duties vary, depending on the CNO, though he generally devotes much of his time to traveling throughout the Navy observing training and talking to sailors and their families. His personnel code is N00A as the senior enlisted advisor to Chief of Naval Operations and PERS-00D in his special advisory capacity to Chief of Naval Personnel/Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel and Training). In 1988, the MCPON's spouse was made the Ombudsman-at-Large, authorizing her to travel around the fleet with her husband, representing the interests of the spouses of enlisted members. While the MCPON is a non-commissioned officer, this billet is protocol equivalent to a vice admiral.
In 1966, the opportunity was given to sailors in the Navy's two largest concentration areas, Norfolk, Virginia, and San Diego, California, to voice their concerns, complaints, and recommendations to the top levels of the Navy. The response was overwhelming; Navy leaders realized that they were out of touch with what the sailor on the deckplate was truly feeling. To provide a permanent channel for input from the enlisted force to their senior leadership, the Navy acted on a suggestion to create a "Leading Chief Petty Officer of the Navy" who would have a direct dialogue channel with all enlisted sailors and represent their interests. Initially, the post was known as the Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Navy, and on 13 January 1967 GMCM Delbert Black was selected to serve a four year term in that capacity. On April 28 of the same year, Black's title was changed to Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy to bring the Navy in line with the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army, which had created equivalent positions in 1957 and July 1966 respectively. MCPON Black's duties were to the Chief of Naval Personnel. All subsequent MCPONs reported to both the CNO and CNP.
During his tour, the MCPON adds a third silver star above the gold anchor on his collar and cap devices, and wears a rating badge consisting of a silver eagle ("crow") atop three inverted gold chevrons and rocker, and three inverted gold stars above the eagle. The MCPON's rating specialty mark is replaced by a single inverted gold star. He will also wear the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Badge on his uniform.
|1||MCPON Delbert Black||1967-01-13 – 1971-04-01|
|2||MCPON(NAC/CAC) John "Jack" Whittet||1971-04-01 – 1975-09-25|
|3||MCPON Robert Walker||1975-09-25 – 1979-09-28|
|4||MCPON(NAC) Thomas S. Crow||1979-09-28 – 1982-10-01|
|5||MCPON(NAC) Billy C. Sanders||1982-10-01 – 1985-10-04|
|6||MCPON(SW) William H. Plackett||1985-10-04 – 1988-09-09|
|7||MCPON(AW/NAC) Duane R. Bushey||1988-09-09 – 1992-08-28|
|8||MCPON(SW/PJ) John Hagan||1992-08-28 – 1998-03-27|
|9||MCPON(SS/SW/AW) James L. Herdt||1998-03-27 – 2002-04-22|
|10||MCPON(SS/AW) Terry D. Scott||2002-04-22 – 2006-07-10|
|11||MCPON(SW/FMF) Joe R. Campa||2006-07-10 – 2008-12-12|
|12||MCPON(SS/SW) Rick D. West||2008-12-12 – 2012-09-28|
|13||MCPON(AW/NAC) Michael D. Stevens||2012-09-28 – incumbent|
- Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Sergeant Major of the Army U.S. Army equivalent
- Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps U.S. Marine Corps equivalent
- Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force U.S. Air Force equivalent
- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard U.S. Coast Guard equivalent
- Senior Enlisted Advisor for the National Guard Bureau
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Master Chief Petty Officers of the United States Navy.|
- Crist, Charlotte D. Winds of Change: The History of the Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy 1967-1992. Washington DC: Naval Historical Center, 1992. [A joint publication of the Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and the Naval Historical Center which is available through the Government Printing Office and depository libraries.]