Each year, the Stennis Center for Public Service sponsors leadership awards for outstanding officers and sailors on board the USS JOHN C STENNIS aircraft carrier. The award winners travel to Washington, D.C. to interact with policy makers. The latest winners visited the nation’s capital on October 3-6, 2010. Click here to learn more about the Leadership Awards Programs sponsored by the Stennis Center.
Story and graphic by
MC3 Kevin Murphy
Students who are in trouble at school go see the principal, professional athletes answer to professional sports referees for their misconduct and the United States Navy has a disciplinary review board (DRB) of chiefs to keep Sailors in-line.
DRB has many purposes, but the overall function is to identify a discrepancy in a Sailor’s performance or behavior and come up with ways to help fix the problem.
At a DRB, chiefs listen to Sailors’ cases and determine if the case should be handled by an executive officer inquiry (XOI), a non-judicial punishment (NJP), or be dismissed.
Chiefs also inform the Sailor of rights and accusations, and make recommendations for punishment which must be approved by the executive officer.
Although DRBs are a form of punishment, not all cases go up the chain of command, because chiefs want to handle discrepancies at the lowest level possible.
“I hate sending people up to see the Captain for non-judicial punishment,” said Stennis Command Master Chief (AW/SS) Stan Jewett. “Anything we can handle at our level to prevent the next Sailor from making a mistake, we will handle. There is hard mentoring at a DRB; we want to make sure the Sailor leaves straight as an arrow. In some cases we have to send a Sailor up the chain with our recommended punishment.”
The most common cases chiefs deal with include Sailors who were driving while intoxicated, unauthorized absences and “gun-decked” maintenance.
The tone of the DRB is set on a case-by-case basis depending on the severity of the case, and has a lot to do with the attitude of the Sailor in trouble.
“If Sailors come in open-minded and are willing to take criticism and feedback with a positive attitude, ready to change their ways or fix the problem, it can be a positive experience,” said Jewett.
Air Traffic Controlman Airman (AW) Kelly Dube, who recently went to DRB, says it gives Sailors a second chance to realize the mistakes made, and helps maintain discipline throughout the ship.
“I went in and displayed my best military bearing,” said Dube. “I was respectful and honest. They asked a few questions, I answered truthfully and they recommended that I go up to see the XO.
“I was reprimanded, but my DRB was short and to the point. I think my military bearing played a large role in the swiftness of my DRB because it showed the chiefs I was not taking the matter lightly.
“I learned that duty is taken very seriously; that all jobs, no matter how small or boring, are equally important to the ship,” said Dube.
DRB isn’t just a tool for punishment, an administrative legal process, or a way to rectify problems, but it is a preventive tool as well.
“Most people who go to DRB don’t want to come back [to do it again],” said Jewett.
“I heard you get confronted by a bunch of chiefs. Knowing that I’d have to answer to a board of chiefs or possibly the XO or CO makes me think twice about my actions,” said Logistics Specialist Seaman Joel Dunbar, who has never been to DRB.
Just like parents discipline their children, or the NFL suspends its players, every organization has its methods of discipline, and the Navy’s DRB continues to help keep Sailors in line.
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin Murphy
In fraternities people hear about hazing,
in the mafia it is rumored that prospective
made men share their blood with other
members, but rarely is the induction
process of new Navy chiefs mentioned to the general public.
Sixteen 1st class petty officers were selected to become chief petty officers Aug. 12. That same day, they began their induction into the chiefs mess, and the transformation from blue shirt to khaki commenced.
Although chiefs cling to tradition, the induction process has changed throughout the years. Chiefs now emphasize training and no longer make selectees endure “senseless acts” of initiation, said Senior Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician (AW/SW) Michael Monserrat, induction triad member.
“The U.S. Navy is the only service that makes a clear distinction from E-6 to E-7. It is a time-honored tradition and proud accomplishment for these Sailors,” said Monserrat. “It is just the beginning of a long road and a continuing learning process. More is expected of them now that they have been selected to be chiefs.”
“I heard it is a crazy and intense introduction into the rank,” said Interior Communications Electrician Fireman Ian Barb. “I want to know how chiefs treat the new inductees. I mean, they made chief, but do they make them go get their coffee and all that?”
Among junior Sailors, not much is known about the induction process; chiefs like to keep it a secret so inductees don’t anticipate the process, which makes the training more effective.
“It’s about perception. We train our own khaki,” said Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) (AW/SW) Sammy Montero. “We want to train them without interference from the outside, so we can train them in the best way we see fit. It is a secret because it is steeped in tradition.”
However, the chiefs mess has revealed that part of the induction is aimed at unity and training; it’s designed to instill in the selectees that
they now have new resources to become better leaders on the deckplates.
“We break things down to basics, help them become emotionally invested in their jobs and teach them that they are counted on to ensure the safety and welfare of their Sailors,” said Monserrat. “They will learn to live up to the tradition of the chief petty officers that have come before them to continue the relationship between chiefs and their Sailors.”
In order to build unity, the selectees physically train (PT) with current chief petty officers. These PT sessions are conducted to get selectees into better shape and build camaraderie.
Selectees also get a personal mentor. They chose a chief, who will guide
them and set the example of what it means to wear the anchors.
The selectees go through classroom training where they are instructed in how to conduct disciplinary review boards, career development boards and maintain division records.
“It is a life-altering experience we have to go through, and one of the proudest moments of my life,” said Chief Select Fire Controlman (SW/AW) Jason May. “I justhope that my Sailors are proud of me, and I want to add that all the selectees want to thank everyone that helped us get to this point in our careers.”
At the end of the process, the selectees will receive their gold-fouled anchors and be officially welcomed into the chiefs mess.
“The pinning will be something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives,” said Monserrat. “They will have to build up and take care of their Sailors, and they will remember that their Sailors come first.”
The induction process is a secret only known to those who are going or have gone through it, so if Sailors want to know what happens, they must earn that right.