NORFOLK (NNS) -- The commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF), announced the selection of Fleet Master Chief (SW/AW) Tom Howard as the USFF Fleet Master Chief Feb. 19.
Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert made the announcement.
"My family and I are very excited to be heading back to Norfolk," said Howard. "I am excited to bring seven and a half years of Pacific Fleet experiences back to the East Coast and be able to share those experiences with Sailors."
Howard, a native of Toledo, Ohio, most recently served as the 14th U.S. Pacific Fleet master chief. He fills the position previously held by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SW/SS) Rick D. West, who was selected Dec. 5, 2008, as the 12th MCPON by Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary R. Roughead.
"FLTCM Howard has the leadership, vision, aptitude, and confidence to give me sound advice and tell me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear," said Greenert. "I look forward to working with him and welcome the exceptional experience he brings to the fleet."
With his new assignment, Howard becomes the command's senior enlisted advisor for more than 100,000 active-duty and Reserve personnel who serve on 150-plus ships and submarines and 79 shore activities within USFF's Area of Responsibility.
"Getting the right message out to Sailors is paramount," said Howard. "We drive policies that affect Sailors and their families daily. Our responsibility at the senior-enlisted level is to talk with Sailors and find out what's on their minds, and then to take their input and see if we can shape future policy with it."
Howard graduated in 1981 from Roy C. Start High School in Toledo, Ohio, and enlisted in the Navy, graduating from Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes in February 1982.
Howard completed numerous ship and shore tours, including USS Belknap (CG 26), USS Missouri (BB 63), Carrier Group 4, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and at Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
"I have dealt with a lot of adversity in my career, said Howard. "I tell Sailors at all-hands calls all the time that the only difference between a championship prize-fighter and the number one contender is the prize-fighter's continued ability to get up off the canvas one more time than they've been knocked down."
Upon selection to the Command Master Chief (CMC) program in 2001, Howard assumed duties as command master chief, NSGA Northwest. Follow on CMC tours included USS Juneau (LPD 10), Amphibious Group 1/CTF 76 in Sasebo, Japan, and finally as the fleet master chief for U.S. 7th Fleet embarked aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in Yokosuka, Japan.
Howard brings an unrelenting sense of commitment to the Navy, with an emphasis on service to the fleet, anytime and anywhere.
"As we move forward in the Navy, it is going to be very important [for Sailors] to be able to serve wherever and whenever the Navy's needs may send us," said Howard.
Howard's personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards), the Navy Good Conduct Medal (six awards) and various service and campaign awards.
For more news from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/clf/.