As the most senior enlisted member of the United States Navy, the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) is the vital link between high-ranking officials such as the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of Naval Personnel and the enlisted personnel who are directly affected by the decrees and decisions of those administrators.

The Navy was not the first of the U.S. Armed Forces to create a billet for its most senior enlisted member; the Marines created the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in 1957, and the Army had established a rank of the same name nine years later. Realizing the value of  a position that would act as a single representative for a force as large as the U.S. Navy, Congress actively began the process of seeking someone to fill a new rate: Leading Chief Petty Officer of the Navy.

Recommendations were received from all commands for qualified Master Chief Petty Officers who could serve in an advisory role to the Chief of Naval Personnel. Though the move was greeted with skepticism on the part of many veteran Sailors—not to mention the fears that some of those old-timers had that the new job would carry so much power and weight that it would upset the traditional chain-of-command—hundreds of nominations were received. A selection committee narrowed these down to just eleven and passed those to a special board led by Rear Admiral Charles Nace, who was Special Assistant for Retention Matters in the Bureau of Personnel. The board chose Master Chief Gunner’s Mate Delbert D. Black to man the new position, and he received his appointment from Vice Admiral B. J. Semmes, Jr. during a ceremony in San Diego on January 13, 1967.

But Black’s appointment was not to become the LCPO of the Navy, but rather to be the “Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Navy.” It wasn’t until April 28, 1967 that this title was changed to Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. In describing the new rate, former Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Zumwalt said in 1992 that “No officer, regardless of his position in the chain of command or Washington bureau, commands more respect, gains quicker access or is listened to more intently than the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy.”

In recognition of the high honor of the MCPON rate, the Badge we offer features an eagle crafted out of full silver bullion thread on premium blue material and gold lace chevrons.
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As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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