Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy under investigation

| February 4, 2022

MCPON Russell Smith

Jeff LPH 3 sends in word that the second consecutive MCPON (the top enlisted man in the Navy) is under investigation from the Inspector General. MCPON Smith apparently has been accused of misconduct.

Military Times reports;

The Naval Inspector General has launched an investigation into allegations of misconduct by the top enlisted sailor in the Navy, according to a defense official with direct knowledge of the probe.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell L. Smith is the second consecutive enlisted leader of the sea service to come under such scrutiny.

The defense official, who asked to remain anonymous as they weren’t authorized to speak on the matter, did not specify the nature of the allegations.

Smith did not respond to a phone message Wednesday, but his spokesperson, Senior Chief Stacee McCarroll, declined to comment.

“I’m not allowed to talk about it right now,” she told Navy Times.

Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, a Navy spokeswoman, also declined to comment.

“As a matter of policy, the Navy does not comment on the status of investigations or confirm if an individual is under investigation,” Momsen said in an email.

It remains unclear where the NAVIG investigation currently stands or whether it has been completed.

Smith became the sea service’s 15th MCPON in 2018, following the abrupt resignation of his predecessor, former MCPON Steven Giordano. Giordano left the post following a series of Navy Times stories detailing allegations about his hair trigger temper and accusations he behaved like a Hollywood diva.

While declining to discuss specific allegations against Smith, the defense official said they were not at the level of the misconduct alleged against former MCPON Giordano.

An IG report obtained by Navy Times in 2019 determined that Giordano turned subordinates into waiters who served him coffee and meals, berated his staffers and failed to report a gift given to him as a high-ranking official.

Smith enlisted in 1988 and was selected for the command master chief program in 2007, according to his official biography.

Category: Navy

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Given the state of today’s military culture, I’d be surprised if there’s ever again going to be an effective SEA who isn’t accused of misconduct.

I’ve seen an E-8 accused of bullying, parts of the accusation being he didn’t say, “please,” when telling a female E-3 to go get a ream of paper for the copier and not complimenting her on how she looked at the MC ball.


Dude…an E9 is the target of every cry baby, crank, snowflake, and turd in the force. There will literally always be allegations, investigations, and pontifications.

The bottom line is that if you are enforcing standards, no matter how fairly, the turds will complain.

Also, there will be some zero intellect officer leaking the info.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Yep. Especially in today’s “crybully” environment.
SO I’m going to withhold judgement on MCPON Smith until hard evidence is in (as opposed to “he said, she said”). If he done the dirty, then whack his crank, HARD. If not, then leave him be.

Yeah, I tend to wait and see on these things. Since we have no idea what is actually alleged it is hard to form any opinion.

That said, the ones who seek such positions are often in possession of toxic personalities, so this may revolve around some form of abusive behavior that is not illegal, but unacceptable in any case.


This is horribly “toxic” and “(micro)aggressive” now:


Check out his ribbons.

ZERO combat time. As in NONE.

— SIGH —

Just the kind of hardened, steely-eyed, battle-tested warrior that we want serving as the senior enlisted Sailor in the U.S. Navy after 20+ years of continuous combat operations.

Oh yeah.


Doesn’t even CAR bro? We should get involved in a decade-long conflict so cheese dick here gets an opportunity.


Knew somebody.


That’s a lotta fruit salad to not have any meat in it. Wonder if it will be like the SMA take down? That dude was banging every wet spot legs within 20 klicks.

USMC Steve

Keep in mind that over the last twenty or so years, there are very few squids with combat time unless they were aviators or corpsmen, or special operations folks. Not everyone gets to pull the trigger.

Mustang Major

Amen, USMC Steve! I hope the Navy’s boomer crews never have a reason to earn a CAR.


Concur re: boomers.


Roger all; I understand all of that, and I agree with you that not everyone gets to pull the trigger (nor should everyone do so).

However, my point is that the last time that I checked, the U.S. Navy still advertises itself as a warfighting organization. Therefore, it would be nice to see a Sailor who has actually “seen the elephant” to be put in the MCPON leadership position for a change, especially after 20+ years of combat operations.

Oh well; I guess that all of those senior enlisted Naval Aircrewmen with Air Medals and Corpsmen and NSW operators with CARs that you refer to must have been busy on the day that the MCPON job came open, so they decided to go with the career Intelligence Specialist instead.

The Marine Corps pulled this same nonsense in 2nd MARDIV just a few years ago when they put a career infantry Major General with no CAR in command of the Division. I bet that having him in charge played really well in those Regiments and Battalions full of combat vets.


“…not everyone gets to pull the trigger…” True dat, Mick! Only certain mavericks get into that danger zone and cook the goose of bad guys. Most of the rest have to put those thoughts of being a Warrior on ice, man. But you do have a lot that fight the karoke wars at the O Club or do battle on the beach with a ball. Second place winners find their trophy in the Ladies Room. Seems like the only place Big Navy came out with top guns was during a certain battle fought on a Saturday afternoon this past December.

Good luck Master Chief…you gonna need it!



It never ends.


Mick: It will end when Top Gun 2 comes out. Or Top Gun 3. Or Top Gun 4.

After all, how many Mission Impossible movies has Tom Cruise made?





If the Chicoms order Hollywood to… they need more air combat footage to loot for their propaganda vids, you know.

Last edited 2 years ago by Anonymous

KoB runs a DA form 6 to ensure that it doesn’t.


That infers he’s one of two dozen people on planet Erfff that know how to use one. Not-a-man here bangs a drum louder for our Battle, King of, louder than me but I find this claim dubious.


I admit nothing. Call my lawer!


I sure as hell can’t use one. I’ll fuck it up in a heartbeat!


That takes my breath away.


Eisenhower never saw combat and was supreme allied commander European theater WW2. Not saying combat experience isn’t extremely valuable but sometimes during a career it just doesn’t happen and some very talented people don’t get that experience.


Yeah, but he was in the combat zones leading troops there.

It’s a small point, but even Fobbits deployed to the war zone.


No actually he wasn’t he was a theater commander he oversaw generals like Patton, Bradley, Montgomery. Rarely left England, or Washington DC. Ike was a great leader at the right time in history but was never a combat commander. Look it up.


Hate you.


Well, in his defense, he did deploy with SEAL team 4. Evidently not to the sandbox as that was not their AO at the time, hence no Iraq or Assghan ribbons.

However, when he got the top gig lots of us thought he was not the best candidate.


True, but there’s been plenty of IA deployments requiring boots on ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 20 years. Aside from the instances you named, there’s been deployments from SeaBees, those attached to Civil Affairs, small boat crews, and quite a few other areas.

Now, you could easily do a straight year of a deployment downrange and not come to qualify for a CAR, but at the same time it’s not that uncommon to see a CPO rate outside of the ones you mentioned with a CAR.

For instance:

USS Avenger’s crew (MCM-1) earns Combat Action Ribbon for actions taken during Operation Desert Storm

Last edited 2 years ago by QMC

Ike missed WW1 that was almost considered a sin at the time. I prefer combat veterans in leadership a long time ago as a young Marine in the early 80sI was lead by mostly Vietnam veterans and their insights were beyond valuable. I also had excellent leadership for men that never saw combat. And useless fucks of both types. Bottom line I agree combat experience if available is a valuable asset and should be exploited if possible but not a sole qualification.


The US entered World War I in April 1917. Eisenhower volunteered for duty overseas; however DA assigned Eisenhower to training pipeline assignments (specifically, OCS) in 1917 and early 1918 – an essential task that someone had to perform. He was then reassigned to the Army’s nascent Tank Corps and directed to stand up training for same, as well as ready a unit for deployment. His last assignment during World War I was to a tank unit that was indeed slated to deploy, and his unit received deployment orders in October 1918.

Air deployment didn’t exist in 1918, and the armistice ending World War I became effective on 11 November 1918. You do the math.

Eisenhower served where he was assigned, in assignments he received from DA. Last time I checked, compliance with orders is not optional – and assignment orders are orders.


I absolutely agree he was a great general and the right man at the right time. His lack of combat experience is a moot point. That what I have been saying.


The previous posts I made on Ike are much better at explaining my position. My point is that regardless of his combat experience he was a great leader and that people without combat experience should not automatically be looked over. I also understand fully that order are not optional.


You are correct Av8or33. Previous combat experience won’t hold some natural leaders back. Nathan Bedford Forrest and John B. Gordon would be two quick examples from history past. History is also replete with examples of combat experienced commanders that royally fornicated Fido.

IIRC it was Georgie Patton that remarked on Ike being the best clerk that Georgie ever had.


It took a man like Ike to be able to get larger than life egos like Patton and Montgomery, etc to play nice together. Not to mention Roosevelt, and Churchill trying to micro manage the war. Many historians believe that without his personality and unique diplomatic skills the European theater may have devolved into political mess and many more troops would have died. Stalin never forgave him for not opening a second front much earlier and bleeding the red army unnecessarily, but he realized that the eastern front was also bleeding the Germans badly and that would make our job in the west much less costly. He realized that the Soviets were not going to be allies after the war. He had an amazing situational awareness that led us to victory and also set the stage for the post war peace be it what it was.


Another SGM Teresa King, (she has been cleaning up her Wikipedia page.


I knew SGM King, she was my 1SG at HHC XVIII ABC. Not too impressed back then

Retired Grunt

Ummm… not to be disrespectful to my brothers and sisters of the sea service but what kind of combat does a surface or sub guy get into in today’s conflicts. The SEALs and corpsman I see and maybe the Seabees but an education would be nice.


I can’t think of a time in recent history a US submarine has fired a torpedo in anger (bubblehead bros help me here), but the last US Navy conflict was during Operation Praying Mantis.


GWOTS, GWOTE, SWAsia w/1 star, & Kuwait.
That’s plenty for anyone in the Navy.
They’re not all Navy SEALs.

VG CMPO ribbons 1.jpg

But still no CAR.

Just being deployed somewhere in a theater of operations and thus rating a few campaign medals/ribbons doesn’t equate to being in actual combat.


Correct. It usually means the person was a REMF. There are REMF’s even in an infantry battalion. Never saw my supply sergeant or the company armorer unless I was in the rear. Ditto for the 1st SGT, except for a couple of times he spent a couple of hours in the field with us like the time I had to sign some legal docs for some guys refusing to go to the field.


Technically speaking, once young Poe left his position as a fire team leader in a line company and assumed his rightful position, by primary MOS, in battalion headquarters as the CBR NCO (the position was filled when he arrived in-country so the BNCO sent Poe down to Bravo Company which was short on NCO’s), he became a REMF.

However, the biggest battle young Poe was involved in during his tour was the Battle of Trung Luong, which earned his unit, the 2d BN 327th Airborne Infantry, a Presidential Unit Citation.

Young Poe had the distinct honor of serving throughout that battle as COL Hal Moore’s (He of Ia Drang Valley and Hollywood fame) radio operator in the forward TOC with the fighting going on all around us.

So some REMF’s do see some action…

Last edited 2 years ago by Poetrooper

Based on that bio, looks like the only realistic window the man had to earn a CAR was during the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991) or some of the follow-on operations in the Persian Gulf. And only then if he was assigned to a ship whose crew was awarded same.

By the time Afghanistan started, looks to me as if he was both intel and almost certainly an E8. (He entered the CMC program in 2007 and I’d guess that would require some time in grade as an E9 to prove himself at that grade first.) I’m guessing that meant very few potential assignments for him in Afghanistan or Iraq from 2002 on. And I’d also guess that precious few of those would have involved too much “outside the wire” time – so realistically he’d have to have gotten a CAR for either an IDF attack or while moving via convoy between compounds or via air. That could have happened, but IMO would probably have been fairly unlikely also.

Last edited 2 years ago by Hondo

Didn’t the previous MCPON step on his own dick too?


The previous MCPON stepped on his dick long before becoming MCPON (making one question the vetting process);

In 1996, Giordano, then a cryptologic tech First Class Petty Officer, committed adultery with a subordinate in the command, a married sailor whose husband was a member of the cryptology community that was stationed elsewhere. Giordano’s commanding officer found Giordano guilty of violating Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice during nonjudicial punishment, a catchall used to discipline personnel whose conduct harms good order or brings discredit on the armed forces. Giordano was reduced in rate to Petty Officer Second Class as punishment, as United States military regulations prohibit adultery.


Does make one wonder, doesn’t it?


OK, I will admit openly (as I have before) that I did not serve in the military, but I do pay some attention to what is going on there.

That said, I have a question. How the fuck did Giordano ever put on Chief’s anchors, let alone become MCPON? Is my question totally ignorant and/or naïve?



Giardano’s selection to MCPON is a mystery, however, making Chief (and Senior/Master), not so mysterious. Below are a couple of excerpts from last year’s Chief’s board precept (which vary slightly year to year, but not in this respect):

‘For those candidates… who have received disciplinary action… documented in the last five years…’ and- ‘While the Navy is and will remain a service of the highest standards and accountability, we do not embrace blind adherence to a zero-defect mentality. Many of us have made mistakes in the past…’

There are also plenty of people that ‘back into’ a Chief promotion (not so much for Senior and Master) leading to WTF moments at their command.


Not sure that explains very much, Closer.

Per the discussion above regarding his 1996 NJP, Giordano got reduced from E6 to E5 in 1996. He was selected for the CMC track in 2007 – roughly 11 years later.

Seems to me that means he went from E5 to E8 (or possibly E9) in 11 years – a jump of 3 or possibly 4 enlisted grades. That in turn means he pretty much had to have been considered by a centralized promotion board within 5 years of his NJP to move up that many grades in 11 years.

Plus, you’d expect a service’s senior enlisted guy/gal to be screened at least as carefully as a prospective GO/FO gets screened for their first Flag promotion – and maybe even more thoroughly. Can’t speak for the other services, but reputedly ANY derogatory info in an Army officer’s MPRJ is pretty much the kiss of death for an O6 being considered for promotion to BG. I’d expect that to be the same for any prospective SMA/MCPON/CMCAF/SMMC.

Something just doesn’t add up here.

Last edited 2 years ago by Hondo

I couldn’t agree with you more…


He was the wanna-be officer that treated people like shit while he was MCPON and a grad of the John McCain School of Schlonging other Sailor’s wives.


Two MCPONs (one resigned/one under investigation), a previous SMA: Gene McKinney was court martialed and reduced to Master Sergeant….man, who the hell is vetting these nominations for the SEA to the service chiefs??


E-8 Mckinney still collecting pension of a SMA. He joined under the ‘final pay’ system (regulation since amended by the DoD). Also, Gene got in hot water w/ the law during retirement, and spent some time in the clink


Yep. Even though he’d been reduced by court-martial, a rather obscure provision of Federal law at the time regarding pension calculation for certain specified and very senior personnel provided a loophole allowing exactly that.

That ludicrous outcome caused Congress to change Federal law to prevent recurrence in the event of similar circumstances in the future. See 10 USC 1406(i)(2), which appears to have become effective in Oct 2000.

FWIW: a similar change also made at that time also made sure that those under the “high-3 average” retired pay system would be similarly penalized if reduced for cause (enlisted personnel) or retired at a lower-grade because of unsatisfactory service (officer personnel) – see 10 USC 1407(f).

Unfortunately, those changes in Federal law occurred after McKinney’s court-martial and conviction. The Constitution’s prohibition on ex post facto laws precludes that change from being applied retroactively to him.

Last edited 2 years ago by Hondo

What was the Master Chief’s RATE before he made MCPON and then got slammed?


Per his bio:

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Russell Smith (MCPON) reported to Recruit Training Command, San Diego, California, in September 1988 and began his career as an airman. He became a Weapons Technician in 1990, then converted to the Intelligence Specialist rating in 1993 and was selected for the Command Master Chief Program in 2007.


I enjoyed the Intell weinie briefs almost as much as the weather-guessers’.

“We bet your life. Have a nice flight.”


Yup. Been there, done that as well.

Intel: “Our assessment is that there is no threat out there along your ingress route, at the target, or on egress.”

Aircrews: “OK. Sure. Until THERE IS.”


Exactly. If you are lucky enough to make it back alive, they get to say Oops to your face.


His official navy bio also says he served with SEAL Team Four:

“He has served in a myriad of sea duty assignments, including USS Enterprise (CVN 65), SEAL Team FOUR, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), two tours onboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and most recently as command master chief (CMC) onboard.”

United States Navy > Leadership > Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy > Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

Be interesting to know what he did with the SEAL’s…

Last edited 2 years ago by Poetrooper

He was an intelligence specialist. Looks like he went somewhere with them as he has a few expeditionary medals. But he did not do 30 days in either A-stan or Iraq or he would be sporting those.


Not necessarily. If he deployed to either location for 30+ days consecutive/60 days nonconsecutive prior to creation of the ACM or ICM (both created in April or May, 2005), he’d have initially qualified for the GWOTEM for that service since the ACM and ICM did not yet exist. He has the GWOTEM.

Not positive about DoN policy, but Army policy is that it’s the individual’s option whether to turn in the GWOTEM and receive ACM or ICM for such early service in Afghanistan or Iraq; the individual may opt to retain the GWOTEM for that tour instead. For later tours, you don’t get a choice – you get the ACM or ICM. (If a tour “straddles” the transition date, you get one or the other, but not both.)

I think that policy is the same across-the-board in DoD, but I could be wrong.

Last edited 2 years ago by Hondo

Wait till the folk that came in during the mid 1990s, and after, take those positions. There’s a good chance that this is a “ramp up” to the continuous f* up fest.

Heck, I saw a video of a Navy PT run formation that included people on bicycles.

Last edited 2 years ago by thebesig

The Army’s first SMA, William O. Woolridge, got himself into a bit of a pickle. Though not for his time as SMA, but during his tenure as CSM of MACV.
From Wiki:
In 1969, while command sergeant major of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Wooldridge was accused in a congressional inquiry of fraud and corruption related to the military club system, amounting to more than $150 million annually.[2] In 1973 the Department of Justice and Wooldridge reached an agreement whereby Wooldridge pleaded guilty to accepting stock equity from a corporation engaged in providing merchandise to the non-commissioned officers’ clubs in Vietnam.[3] The government did not find any wrongdoing on his part while serving as the Sergeant Major of the Army.
Wooldridge had earlier been awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal, but it was withdrawn following this episode.


First that little primadonna bitch Giordino and now this?

Probably another byproduct of that “season of pride” bullshit that replaced CPO Indoctrination/Initiation.

Green Thumb

Nothing new here.

Same old shit.

Green Thumb

E-10’s usually work balls. With a few exceptions.

Jack Tilley (Army) was one of the worst.