Military Wiki
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
Seal of the MCPON.jpg
MCPON Russell L Smith.jpg
Russell L. Smith

since 29 August 2018
 United States Navy
Type Advisor
Abbreviation MCPON
Reports to Chief of Naval Operations
Appointer Chief of Naval Operations
Term length 2 years
renewable once
Formation 28 April 1967; ago (1967-04-28)
First holder Delbert Black
Salary E-9
Website Official website

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.[1]


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.

MCPON Insignia

MCPON insignia
MCPON.svg MCPON collar.png MCPON Full.png
Sleeve Collar Badge

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.

Master Chief Petty Officers of the Navy

No. MCPON Photo Tenure
1 MCPON Delbert Black MCPON Delbert Black.jpg 1967-01-13 – 1971-04-01
2 MCPON(NAC/CAC) John "Jack" Whittet MCPON John Whittet.jpg 1971-04-01 – 1975-09-25
3 MCPON Robert Walker MCPON Robert Walker.jpg 1975-09-25 – 1979-09-28
4 MCPON(NAC) Thomas S. Crow US Navy 790601-N-0000X-001 Retired Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Tom Crow died of cancer Sunday, Nov. 30th at his home in San Diego.jpg 1979-09-28 – 1982-10-01
5 MCPON(NAC) Billy C. Sanders MCPON Billy Sanders.jpg 1982-10-01 – 1985-10-04
6 MCPON(SW) William H. Plackett MCPON William Plackett.jpg 1985-10-04 – 1988-09-09
7 MCPON(AW/NAC) Duane R. Bushey MCPON Duane Bushey.jpg 1988-09-09 – 1992-08-28
8 MCPON(SW/PJ) John Hagan MCPON John Hagan.jpg 1992-08-28 – 1998-03-27
9 MCPON(SS/SW/AW) James L. Herdt MCPON James Herdt.jpg 1998-03-27 – 2002-04-22
10 MCPON(SS/AW) Terry D. Scott US Navy 020424-N-0000X-001 MCPON Terry D. Scott.jpg 2002-04-22 – 2006-07-10
11 MCPON(SW/FMF) Joe R. Campa Campa Dec 2007.jpg 2006-07-10 – 2008-12-12
12 MCPON(SS/SW) Rick D. West Rick West def.jpg 2008-12-12 – 2012-09-28
13 MCPON(AW/NAC) Michael D. Stevens MCPON Stevens.jpg 28 September 2012 – 2 September 2016
14 MCPON(SG/SW/IW) Steven S. Giordano MCPON June 2017.jpg 2 September 2016 – 21 June 2018
Acting FLTCM(SW/IW/AW) Russell L. Smith Fleet Master Chief Russell L. Smith.jpg 22 June 2018 – 29 August 2018
15 MCPON(SW/IW/AW) Russell L. Smith MCPON Russell L Smith.jpg 29 August 2018 – present


Russell L. SmithSteven S. GiordanoMichael D. StevensRick D. WestJoe R. CampaTerry D. ScottJames L. HerdtJohn Hagan (USN)Duane R. BusheyWilliam H. PlackettBilly C. SandersThomas S. CrowRobert Walker (USN)John WhittetDelbert Black

See also


  • 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.]

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