AUSN is honored to pass along MCPON Smith’s special holiday message to All Hands. In his message, MCPON stresses the importance of being ready for the fight, staying vigilant and to take care of each other. Master Chief of the Navy, Russell Smith (MCPON) reported to Recruit Training Command, San Diego, California, in September 1988 and began his career as an airman. He became a Weapons Technician in 1990, then converted to the Intelligence Specialist rating in 1993 and was selected for the Command Master Chief Program in 2007.
MCPON Holiday Message: Stay ready for the fight, be vigilant and take care of each other.
Our Navy team needs to remain vigilant and strong throughout this holiday period. Take care of each other and keep an eye on one another. As we progress through the holidays, lean on friends and shipmates; if needed, don’t be afraid to turn to (or urge a friend to do so) our more robust professional services – as I and other senior leaders have done in our careers – to find the help you need to get you through those moments that might seem insurmountable.
In talking with another Chief a long time ago, a phrase I used stuck with me: “the mountain that stands tallest is the one that stands before each of us.” It’s easy to dismiss our issues, or not seek help because we think others have it worse or think no one will understand, but it’s all about perspective. The challenges you face can be as serious and as overwhelming as you perceive them to be. A Marine I once worked for, Brig. Gen. Liszewski used to say “it’s ok not to be “ok,” but it’s not ok not to ask for help.” We are a team, and as a team we must help each other.
While we all need to find the time to take a knee and catch our breath, as a team we cannot relent in our pursuit of readiness, we must not loosen our grip – our sense of urgency – in preparing for the fight.
From the very birth of our American nation, we’ve understood the vulnerability and corresponding advantage of a time of anticipated relaxation. Washington’s daring maneuver to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night and attack Hessian forces in Trenton pressed an advantage presented by an enemy who was not expecting a fight.
Our Sailors must be prepared to “fight tonight,” even if that night falls when we least expect it or want it to – for those on watch around the globe, our hearts are with you. For those of us who stand behind you, we will continue to provide the support you need; as the CNO delineates in the Design 2.0, those not in the fight will be ready to “rearm, resupply and repair our operational forces” – we will be where and when you need us to be in forceful backup.
Have a happy and safe holiday season.
MCPON Russell Smith
MCPON SMITH’S BIOGRAPHY
Master Chief of the Navy, Russell Smith (MCPON) reported to Recruit Training Command, San Diego, California, in September 1988 and began his career as an airman. He became a Weapons Technician in 1990, then converted to the Intelligence Specialist rating in 1993 and was selected for the Command Master Chief Program in 2007.
He has served in a myriad of sea duty assignments, including USS Enterprise (CVN 65), SEAL Team Four, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), two tours onboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and most recently as command master chief (CMC) onboard USS Momsen (DDG 92).
His previous shore tours include service as the operations non-commission officer at the U.S. Defense Attaché Office in Moscow, Russia, on the OPNAV Staff as senior enlisted for the Intelligence community, as CMC for the Office of Naval Intelligence, OPNAV Staff command master chief in Washington, District of Columbia, as U.S. Naval Academy command master chief in Annapolis, Maryland, and most recently as fleet master chief, Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education in January 2017.
He completed six shipboard deployments to the Western Pacific and Central Command in support of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, a 292-day combat deployment during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, disaster relief operations in Indonesia and counter-piracy operations in the Horn of Africa. He also served on numerous deployments and detachments while attached to Naval Special Warfare and Defense Intelligence Agency elements.
Smith is a graduate of the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy (Class 125/Blue) and CMC/COB Course (Class 42), and has been awarded the Legion of Merit (two awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), and various other personal and unit awards. He received the Edwin T. Layton Leadership Award in fall of 2002 for leadership in the Intelligence Community.
He assumed the duties as the 15th master chief petty officer of the Navy on August 29, 2018.