I spent the day with an individual I know, who I respect. He had an interesting Navy career and retired as a Commander. He and I tell each other Sea Stories and I enjoy the chatter. He was talking about the people he knew in the Navy from his "Officer" prospective. And it hit me, he had a good experience with at least one Chief in his Navy career, but he really did not think of Enlisted personnel as Professionals!
Well, I am here to tell you, Enlisted men and women are Professionals as much as Officers are. Not more, not less, but the same! We work our way through our chosen profession, learning the professional lessons of our Rate. We stand watches teat, in the beginning have lower levels of responsibility and accountability and work our way up to many of the same watches that mid grade Officers stand. Bridge watches, Engineering Officer of the Watch, Officer of the Deck import, Junior Officer of the Deck at sea, and CIC Watch Officer. I even knew a Master Chief Gunner's Mate that stood Tactical Action Officer on an FFG in the Persian Gulf and he had a Weapons Release Authority letter in his Service Record! How do I know, his Commanding Officer told me!!
I get aggravated when, in this day, I have to justify Enlisted Personnel as professionals! The Enlisted community has always been professionals. Yes, some of us had problems. But, how many Officers have I seen getting relieved for cause, for the states reason of; "Loss of trust!" when we know the real truth was sex with some one junior to them! Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, there have been some Command Master Chiefs relieved for the same unprofessional reason.
The bottom line is, we are all professionals and both communities need each other. It is high time both communities realize that fact and start showing each other the respect we deserve. To do anything less, will only hurt both communities and the Navy.