SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Post and relief of the watch is a time honored Navy tradition. Whether it occurs several times a day on the quarter deck or less frequently as senior leaders arrive and depart, it is a part of the lifestyle.
Master Chief Petty Officer Marty Barnholtz relieved Master Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey Pickering as USS Carl Vinson's (CVN 70) command master chief during an all hands call aboard the ship, Aug. 11.
Those who wear the heavy brass or fouled anchors and salty chevrons come and go, leaving behind their legacy as they pass on the reins and continue their journey.
Before turning over command, Pickering bid farewell to the crew he led for the past two years and reflected on his time aboard "America's Favorite Carrier."
"I will miss the crew of Carl Vinson," said Pickering. "We are all family. There is a special place for each of my shipmates that I will keep dearly. I am proud of each of you."
Reporting in March 2012, Pickering served as the ship's thirteenth Command Master Chief.
"Unlike most of my other commands, this one was the largest," said Pickering. "One of my many lessons onboard was ensuring I was addressing the right person. "Can you imagine if I gave the wrong news to the wrong person - devastating. Attention to detail was always one of our basics and I really paid attention when it came to our Sailors."
Pickering said his most memorable moment aboard was when he addressed Commander People's Liberation Army Navy [PLAN)], Adm. Wei Shengli in September 2013.
"I asked the captain prior to the event what he would like me to share with him and he simply said, just tell him about chiefs," said Pickering. "I believe he got more than he had expected."
Pickering said treating Sailors with respect was key to his success aboard the aircraft carrier.
"I love our Sailor's Creed," said Pickering. "It ends with the fair treatment of all, I like that. Yes, some of us may lose our focus and do wrong, but it is my job to ensure you were treated fairly and respectfully. I never took sides."
For those aspiring to one day being selected as a command master chief, Pickering has this advice.
"The Navy is not just a job, it gives direction when you just don't know where you are heading," emphasized Pickering. "Keep moving up and stay Navy! I never thought I would have gone this far. My goal was to complete my enlistment."
With deployment approaching, Pickering noted that the ship and crew has come a long way since completing its Planned Incremental Availability.
"As I look around, there is a sense of readiness," explained Pickering. "Many know that deployment is just around the corner and are ready to go. We have been training for this and now the crew will get the chance again to show their skills."
Pickering will be reporting to Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego (SPAWAR), a new venture in his 28 year long career. With the change of pace his new command brings, he looks forward to spending time with his family.
"I wanted to do something different," said Pickering. "I know supply, I know manning from my detailer days, and I fully understand aviation...now I am about to learn the IT portion."
Before the all hands call concluded, Barnholtz addressed the crew, and expressed how impressed he is with the ship and its crew.
"Master Chief, thank you very much for this fine crew and this fine ship," said Barnholtz. "I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you and finding my way around this mighty warship."
For the crew, Pickering has one last message before they sail away to do what their country asks of them.
"Stay Navy, move up...not out. This is fun," said Pickering. "It has been a blast. I love this ship. This was my best command ever...I feel the love daily. Who knows what's next? Force? Fleet? I'm not done yet."
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.