MCPON visits Carl Vinson, achieves 30 years of service
SAN DIEGO - Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith visited Sailors aboard aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Sept. 19, which also marked the day he enlisted in the Navy 30 years ago.
Smith held an all-hands call with enlisted Sailors and met with Carl Vinson’s Chief’s Mess, encouraging crew members to remain ready to meet national tasking at a moment’s notice.
“There are many powers competing to be the number one team and we are now among those competitors, we are not alone,” said Smith. “We have to be ready to meet any contingency.”
Smith acknowledged Vinson’s busy schedule. The aircraft carrier recently participated in Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2018 just after completing a deployment to the Western Pacific region earlier this year. Carl Vinson conducted a historic visit to Vietnam in March, the first visit by a U.S. aircraft carrier in more than 40 years.
Smith began his naval career as an airman in 1988. He later converted to the Intelligence Specialist rating and advanced to chief petty officer while serving aboard Carl Vinson.
“Twenty years ago today, I ate in the chief’s mess for the first time on this ship,” said Smith. “The best advice I have for the new chiefs is to focus on building winning teams. The more they can do to demonstrate selflessly that they can build winning teams and see their teams accomplish great things for the Navy, the better we will be ready for the fight looking forward.”
Over the course of a distinguished 30-year career, Smith has completed six shipboard deployments to the Western Pacific and Central Command in support of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Fox. He also conducted a 292-day combat deployment during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On Aug. 29, he assumed his current duties as the 15th master chief petty officer of the Navy.
Carl Vinson is America’s third Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The ship’s namesake is one of the longest-serving U.S. congressmen in history who had a profound impact on developing America’s modern naval force centered on aircraft carriers.