BOSTON (NNS) -- Russell Smith, the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, was pinned to MCPON, Aug. 31, during USS Constitution's underway, which concluded this year's Chief Petty Officer Heritage Weeks.
"To be honest, I can't think of a better place to be pinned," Smith said. "I have a long history with USS Constitution; I'm an honorary crew member. Constitution was the place where I reenlisted the last time. Where I have had so many fun experiences with chiefs and chief selectees."
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson announced Smith as the 15th MCPON Aug. 29.
Smith is the first MCPON in the Navy's history to be pinned aboard USS Constitution.
He was pinned by chief petty officer selectees Legalman 1st Class Melissa Whitaker and Damage Controlman 1st Class Ryan Reffitt. "To have two chief selectees pin me who represent the promise and the hope of the mess that I get to very proudly represent, nothing can top that," Smith said.
After the pinning, Smith discussed two of his goals as the MCPON. "One, is to provide transparency and opportunity for everyone that serves in our Navy so that all of us as Sailors recognize that whatever we choose to be, however we choose to apply our talents, is going to improve our U.S. Navy," Smith said. His second goal is to ensure the Navy is ready for an era of great power competition. "There's a storm on the horizon and we have a job in the chief's mess to prepare our Sailors to face those challenges. It's going to take a lot of hard work to get there."
Constitution, America's Ship of State, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797-1855. The World's Oldest Commissioned Warship Afloat, Constitution embodies 220 years of maritime heritage and unwavering service to her country. Now a featured destination on Boston's Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew of active duty U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship's history and the importance of naval sea power to more than 500,000 visitors each year. Constitution is berthed at Pier One in Charlestown Navy Yard.
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