The first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON), a billet originally designated as Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Navy, was appointed on 13 January 1967, the culmination of a three-year effort  to increase retention rates and address the concerns and needs of Enlisted personnel that were causing those rates to plummet. A little over three months after Master Chief Gunner’s Mate Delbert Black received his appointment as Senior Enlisted Advisor, the Navy changed the title to its current designation of MCPON to make it more in line with the titles used for similar positions in other branches of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Black was appointed MCPON by the Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP), Vice Admiral B.J. Semmes, Jr., and during his tenure reported to that office. Today, MCPONs are appointed by the Chief of Naval Operations and report both to the CNO and the CNP.

Three stars positioned atop the traditional CPO fouled anchor serve as the insignia on the cap device for MCPON. Although the billet falls somewhere between Rear Admiral and Admiral as far as protocol at formal events is concerned, it is still a Noncommissioned Officer position, and therefore a black chin strap is worn on the cap, secured by two gold retaining buttons.

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