PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) Command Master Chief (CMDCM) Mike Bates retired from the Navy, going ashore one last time after 24 years of dedicated and honorable service, during a ceremony at the National Naval Aviation Museum onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, Nov. 30.
About 125 family members, friends and shipmates attended the ceremony to honor and bid fair winds and following seas to Bates, who assumed the duties as CIWT command master chief, May 26, 2015.
Capt. Nick Andrews, CIWT's commanding officer and the presiding officer, commended Bates for his loyal devotion to the Navy, Sailors and families.
"As the domain master chief, you had a profound, positive impact not only on the staff at our headquarters, but also the staff and students at our four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan," shared Andrews. "You embodied excellence throughout your 24-year career. Countless Sailors and families have benefited and will continue to benefit from your leadership, innovation, passion and courage. I thank you for your wise counsel, astute advice, and ever-present concern for your Sailors. The entire CIWT family wishes you and your family well on your next journey in life."
Andrews also presented Bates the Meritorious Service Medal, the second of his career, for superior performance as CIWT’s command master chief from May 2015 to November 2018.
Retired Navy CMDCM Roy Hooper served as the guest speaker. Hooper has known Bates for the past 18 years, and they first met in Mayport, Florida, when Bates was a first class petty officer and Hooper was a senior chief.
“We struck up a friendship that I value tremendously,” shared Hooper. “Mike has risen to the top wherever he has been stationed; his sailors succeed under his leadership; his command executes mission flawlessly; and he is a success story for all of us to emulate. Family, leadership, dedication and inspiration are terms enlisted Sailors and officers associate with Mike. He leads by example, trusts his Sailors and loves his family.”
Bates, a native of New Orleans, joined the Navy in February 1995. Following basic training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, he completed Data Systems Technician “A” school at Great Lakes in 1996. Bates later earned an associate degree in Applied Science in Technical Studies from Excelsior College; is a graduate of the Senior Enlisted Academy, Class 158, Command Master Chief Course; and attended the Naval Postgraduate School’s Navy Senior Leader Seminar. He is designated a specialist in surface and information warfare and afloat training.
Bates served as a data systems technician and fire controlman until he was selected for the Command Master Chief Program in 2011.
His assignments include USS Spruance (DD 963); Southeast Regional Maintenance Center; USS The Sullivans (DDG 68); Afloat Training Group Mayport; and USS Underwood (FFG 36) and USS Vicksburg (CG 69) as command master chief. He conducted six extended overseas deployments to U.S. 4th, 5th, and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility in support of national tasking, NATO operations and various campaigns.
During his remarks, Bates talked about how fellow Sailors impacted his career.
“The Navy has been great to me,” said Bates. “I’ve been around the world multiple times and had the opportunity to visit over 40 countries, but the best part of my Navy career has been the relationships I have made along the way. I have been surrounded by some amazing people who have influenced my career leading to where I am today.”
Bates also individually thanked the numerous family and friends in attendance, and shared why they decided to retire in Pensacola.
“Pensacola has been great to the Bates family, and one of the main reasons why we decided to retire here,” added Bates. “We’ve been blessed with making some great friends that we call our Pensacola family.”
The ceremony included numerous presentations to Bates and his family. Bates was also presented with Louisiana State University (LSU) memorabilia, by CIWT’s Chiefs Mess, which serve as a symbol of Bates’ lifelong love for LSU.
The also included a reading of “The Wife’s Watch”, a retirement flag folding and presentation with the recitation of "Old Glory”, the reading of the Chief Petty Officer Retirement Creed, and concluded with a recitation of "The Watch.”
Bates and his family were then piped ashore for the last time by the honors boatswain.
“The Navy is losing a great leader today,” added Hooper. “The only obstacle myself and 50 others in Jacksonville are working on now is how do we get the Bates family back to Jacksonville.”
With four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT is recognized as Naval Education and Training Command’s top learning for the past two years. Training over 21,000 students every year, CIWT delivers trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
For more news from Center for Information Warfare Training, visit www.navy.mil/local/cid/.