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The Delbert D. Black National Chief’s Mess tells the unique story and important role of the Navy Chief Petty Officer (CPO) and provides an opportunity for Chiefs around the Navy to stay connected. The National Chief's Mess was dedicated in September 2017 in memory of Delbert D. Black, the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON).  MCPON Black helped improve the quality of life for Sailors and their families by laying the groundwork for programs and policies that his successors would implement for the next 50 years. He worked hard to demonstrate the importance of the role of MCPON and built confidence in Navy Leadership.

What is a Chief Petty Officer? 

The Chief is a consummate leader. All branches of the military have the ranks E-7 to E-9, but there is nothing like the Navy’s Chief Petty Officer (CPO). Since 1893 to date, chiefs have been the subject matter expert leaders on deck, the "go to" for questions, and the people who have a pulse on the enlisted sailors below them. Chiefs are the glue that bind the US Navy together, bridging the gap between officers and enlisted sailors.  Being a Chief is a unique achievement and level of responsibility like no other in the world.  It is often said, "Chiefs don't run the Navy, they make the Navy run."  


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There are several special exhibits housed in the National Chief's Mess that tell the important story and unique role that the Navy Chief Petty Officer (CPO) has played for more than a century. 



Coming Soon - The Navy Memorial is building several programs around the Fleet that will focus on the example set by the Chief Petty Officer (CPO).  

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What is a Chief's Mess?

Aboard ships, in squadrons, and all commands the Chiefs are organized into a "Mess", or the place where they eat, lounge, and have meetings.  The Chief's Mess holds great symbolic meaning for everyone in the United States Navy from the newest recruit to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).  Their mess is where Chiefs go to gain advice from other Chiefs and also communicate to each other exactly how the orders from officers are to be carried out on the deck as a unified front.

Questions? Contact Robert Parker at or (202) 380.0723