Pride and Professionalism:
Master Chief Thomas S. Crow
September 28,1979 ‑ October 1, 1982
I will always remember Tom Crow for his great support and his many accomplishments but I will remember him especially: First, for his lovely wife, Carol. Admiral Hayward recognized the importance of family to the sailor and authorized Carol to travel with Tom. This proved to be great initiative. Carol was a wonderful representative, an excellent listener, a very fine speaker, a valuable source of information and a great credit to the Navy. Second, the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy.. Tom Crow believed that having an Academy dedicated to our Senior Enlisted personnel and located in the vicinity of our Naval War College would enhance "Pride and Professionalism" and would be a real boon to senior enlisted leadership. He felt very strongly that the Navy should have its own Academy. Mainly through Tom's personal and forceful drive, the Navy did in 1981 establish its own Senior Enlisted Academy. I was very proud to be there with him to cut the ribbon. Lastly, I will always remember Tom Crow as someone who consistently showed superb leadership by example on a daily basis. He was a strong spokesman for entire enlisted community and he never forgot that he was a sailor from the fleet and that readiness and fleet are what it's all about. He was one great shipmate!"
Vice Admiral Lando W. Zech, USN(Ret.)
Thomas Sherman Crow grew up in McArthur, Ohio, looking forward to the day that he could join the Navy. Raised by his grandmother after his mother died in childbirth, he believed that the Navy was his only opportunity to break out of the poverty he knew as a child.
An uncle who served in the Navy with the Seabees during WW II was Crow's role model. In January, 1953, after graduating from high school, Crow joined the Navy. After boot camp, he began training as an aviation structural mechanic. For the next 21 years, he lived in the world of an aircraft mechanic, switching periodically between types of aircraft, platforms, and environments.
Though advancement to E‑6 had come relatively quickly, he hit a stone wall at the E‑7 level.
"I was probably one of the Navy's most senior first classes," he said. "Chief just never seemed to open up. It became a real test of will to keep going back to take the test." The wall finally crumbled in 1971 and by 1974, as a senior chief, Crow was looking for a new challenge. He found it in the new world of race relations.
'We were beginning to have some very serious problems with race relations
in the Navy," he said. "Equal opportunity was an issue. We were having problems dealing with the different races and cultures. I prided myself in being a person who takes people as they are. A good person is a good person and I really don't care what race or culture they come from. I felt the impact of what I thought were some very racist, sexist kinds of things going on during that time. The Navy was looking for people to work in the area of Human Resources so I volunteered."
He started training for duty as a race relations education specialist and was chosen to attend the Defense Race Relations Institute, Patrick AFB, Florida. He was assigned to COMNAVAIRPAC where he served as a trainer for race relations and a member of the quality control inspection team for overseas VVESTPAC units and carriers. After completion of the equal opportunity program specialist training at Cheltenham, Maryland, he became a program manager for AIRPAC, implementing Phase II of the equal opportunity/race relations program aboard carriers in the Pacific.
Meanwhile, Crow was enhancing his own opportunities, as well, by attending National University in San Diego, California, where he graduated in 1976 with an associate's degree in business administration.
In 1977, he launched into a somewhat different area of counseling attending the Navy Drug/Alcohol Counselor School at NAS Miramar, California. Upon completion, he moved over to the AIRPAC Human Resource Management Support Office as an assistant and as manager of the EO/RR, Drug and Alcohol Program. After advancing to master chief, he was selected as AIRPAC force master chief in December 1977. He continued his off‑duty education, receiving a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Nominated for MCPON
Two years later, he was nominated by AIRPAC for the job of MCPON. Competition for MCPON Walker's successor produced six finalists: Master Chief Electrician's Mate Allen R. Bailey, a human resources management specialist aboard Lawrence; Master Chief Boatswain's Mate Jesse J. Holloway, COMNAVSURFPAC force master chief; Master Chief Boatswain's Mate George E. Ingram, assistant retention officer for SURFPAC; Master Chief Torpedoman's Mate Franklin A. Lister, Commander Submarine Force Atlantic force master chief; Master Chief Avionics Technician Billy C. Sanders, NAS Pensacola, Florida, command master chief; and Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman Thomas S. Crow.
The candidates met in Washington on the evening of June 24, 1979 to begin a week of interviews, briefings, tours, luncheons, dinners, and a cruise on the CNO's barge.
On Friday, June 29, CNO Admiral Thomas B. Hayward announced that he had chosen Force Master Chief Crow to be the Navy's fourth MCPON. Three months later, in ceremonies at the Washington Navy Yard, Crow relieved retiring MCPON Walker. Prior to the turnover, Crow attended and par-
ticipated in the annual CNO Master Chief Petty Officer Advisory Panel. He recalled his introduction to the group only two years before as a force master chief.
"I was intimidated by that group of master chiefs," he said. "That first year, I just shut up and listened. They were the strongest willed, stubbornest bunch of master chiefs. Used to yelling, shouting, arguing and debating. Walker kept us very busy working in groups. It was a big learning experience. I held my own. Paid attention. Next year I spoke up a lot more. We were fighting like hell on issues, but by the end of the week, we'd come to a consensus on issues to go to the CNO with fairly well‑thought out recommendations."
In his first meeting with Admiral Hayward, Crow said he was made to feel very comfortable.
'We talked about 'Pride and Professionalism,'" Crow said, "and discussed how we intended to do the job we felt needed to be done. Based on my experiences of force master chief and from watching Bob Walker, I felt that I needed to be out in the fleet. I asked how much access I would have to the CNO and he answered as much as I needed."
MCPON Crow inspects the troops at a commissioning ceremony for USS Deyo.
In their discussion on leadership, Crow was pleased to discover similar philosophies.
"His idea of leadership was that the CPO mess should be the focal point of the community," he said. "Because of their seniority and experience, he placed lot of weight on the CPO. We both believed that leaders needed to be honest with their people. They needed to be the teachers, trainers, and role models. And they needed to speak up when necessary."
When Crow took over as MCPON, the Navy was having morale problems centered around pay and allowances, the drug culture was at its peak, low retention was still a concern, and the liberal pendulum set in motion during the Zumwalt era was still creating leadership problems and uniform instability. In the face of those problems, Crow came in with one simple goal: he wanted to be able to present a "pure enlisted perspective," to the leadership in Washington.
"I came from out in the fleet and I wanted to continue to see the Navy through that set of eyes," he said. "I was not going to allow the job to turn me into a bureaucrat or a politician who would bring back to the CNO what I thought he wanted to hear. That was really my only intention coming into the office."
In his first issue of The Direct Line' Crow addressed a concern that was common throughout the Navy in 1979 . he wrote. "All of us have concerns as
'We have problems in today's Navy, to where the reviews and studies of our pay and retirement will lead. The CNO and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are working for our best interests. As a career professional, I have faith in them to protect our interests."
By the late seventies and early eighties, inflation was taking its toll on military paychecks. Families unable to cope with the increased cost of living were turning to food stamps. In the Winter 1980 issue of Wifeline, an article was dedicated to the subject of eligibility, application and usage.
"Before you let stigma or your pride interfere," the article cautioned, "the health and welfare of your family should be uppermost in your mind."
Efforts to convince Congress to increase military pay revolved around a fair pay and compensation package that would bring military salaries and benefits more in line with the civilian economy.
The Crows had nine children through his‑and‑her marriages. Together, they were acutely aware of the hardships that Navy families were facing on limited budgets.
'We were pushing 'Pride and Professionalism' in the Navy at a time when our families were being forced to take food stamps to eat," Crow said. "It created a dichotomy. In trying to reach a balance, we had to tell sailors to not allow pride to get in the way .. feed your children."
Admiral Hayward was, according to Crow, very family oriented. He recognized the importance of the family unit and the influence it could play on a sailor's career. He viewed the wife of the MCPON as an essential member of the "Pride and Professionalism" effort, someone who could visit with the families and communicate their concerns to Washington. She could also provide information on exchanges, commissaries, dispensaries, etc. For the first time since the creation of the office, the wife of the MCPON had the blessings and authorization of the CNO to travel with her husband.
Also in his first message to the fleet and force master chiefs via Direct Line, Crow addressed the subject of leadership apathy.
"A question I'm continuously asked by fellow Master Chiefs is, 'What can we do about the apathy within our CPO, SCPO, and MCPO ranks?' My answer must always be the same ‑ I cannot do a thing. The attitude is brought about by different things for different people. Frustration, fear, and anger brought about by what we see and hear around us contribute to the emotions, and many times the reaction manifests itself in apathy for some, and enthusiasm for others."
The negative results of leadership apathy, according to Crow, were translating into poor job satisfaction, poor retention, excess attrition and very weak leadership on the deckplates.
"A very subtle change has overtaken us in the Navy over a period of seven or eight years," he said. "The situation I speak of is the role of the work center supervisor, CPO versus the division officer, Junior Officer. Everywhere I go I see a young division officer with a desk right in the middle of a work center or shop. Very busy taking over and doing the tasks that once belonged to the CPO.
"This taking over has virtually stripped the CPO of authority and responsibility. Apparently, someone told our junior officers to get more involved, and obviously this has been interpreted as taking over the chiefs role."
Crow placed the responsibility for correcting the situation squarely on the shoulders of the senior enlisted leadership.
"If any change is to occur," he pointed out, "it must originate within the group of senior petty officers and chiefs, for it is the senior enlisted personnel who are the backbone of the Navy."
The CNO supported the MCPON in this campaign. Crow said that in their discussions about the CPO/JO issue, the admiral agreed that "any junior officer who tried to exercise control when a more experienced CPO is running the shop was exercising poor judgment."
"Most officers who have done well in the Navy have learned from a good
chief," Crow said. "Leadership is founded on mutual respect. Both the junior officer and the chief have to know their place in the chain of command."
Crow immediately began working to implement the newly defined roles for Senior and Master Chiefs.
"This project must proceed slowly and carefully to ensure that the final decisions, especially those changes that impact upon our chain of command," he wrote in Direct Line, "are ones that provide job satisfaction for the personnel it affects and strengthens the organization in such a way as to improve the credibility of both the senior and master chiefs and the junior officers in the Navy."
Training for senior and master chiefs in those new roles would revolve around the creation of a Senior Enlisted Academy, Crow said.
"I want to caution all of you that the reality of an academy in this plan is just one method being explored and may be the direction settled upon," he wrote. "I fully comprehend the feelings from our peers in the fleet and our strong inputs from the fleet/force master chiefs at the last two CNO MCPO Advisory Panels have made it clear that we want and need an Academy for training our senior and master chiefs. I will continue to monitor and participate in this project."
Master Chief Jon H. Keeney, Commander, Naval Education and Training Force Master Chief, was involved in the research and design phase for the Academy. In his newsletter, he pointed out that the SEA "will not be a boot camp for senior personnel. The atmosphere of this prestigious training is to be one of pride, self‑achievement, and a means by which to upgrade managerial skills for further career development.
"We, the senior enlisted personnel, have continually asked to be given the responsibilities commensurate with paygrade and experience and to be held accountable for our actions," the force master chief wrote. "Future expansion of responsibility for SCPO and MCPO will be determined by how we react and perform to this new challenge."
On September 14, 1981, Crow attended opening ceremonies for the Senior Enlisted Academy. A pilot class of 16 students would receive nine weeks of education in communication skills, national security affairs, Navy programs, and physical readiness training. Classes were conducted in facilities at the Center for War Gaming, Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
Throughout his tenure, Crow stayed in close contact with the fleet and force master chiefs, using them as a reliable system of communication. In 1980, he added a fleet master chief billet for Assistant VCNO/Director Naval Administration. The new billet was called Naval Shore (NAVSHORE) and was
filled by Master Chief Bob White. Under NAVSHORE were the force master chiefs for CNET, Naval Reserve, Security Group, Recruiting Command, and Bureau of Medicine. With the addition of two new force master chief billets, the organizational chart in 1980 had five fleet master chiefs: CINCPACFLT, CINCLANTFLT, Chief of Naval Material (CHNAVMAT), Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR) and NAVSHORE; 16 force master chiefs and seven CNO‑directed command master chiefs.
Crow initiated a Spring Fleet Master Chief Conference to provide fleet master chiefs with an update on the status of personnel issues and to get current information to take back to their sailors. He also pushed for closer coordination between the fleet and force master chiefs and between the fleet and type commanders and their master chiefs.
"I didn't believe that the fleet and forces needed to flock around the MCPON too much," he said. "They needed to be out with their commanders and their senior enlisted leadership, gathering information and recommendations that they could consolidate as input for the advisory panels."
He also placed increase focus on the role of the command master chief (C M/C), guiding the creation of a new charter that expanded the responsibilities associated with the title. OPNAVINST 5400.3713 reflected additional authorized CMC billets for ships, squadrons, and stations with more than 250 personnel assigned and described the newly authorized rating badge for C M/Cs. The revision resulted in the assignment of a command master chief detailer.
In the January, 1980 issue of Direct Line, the MCPON announced the findings of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Special Pay Study on Military Compensation. Among the recommendations were: an increase in military basic pay; the enactment of a variable housing allowance which would pay the difference between a service member's BAQ and the average rental costs plus utilities at the location of the member's duty station; a complete restructuring of travel allowances associated with PCS entitlements, and an increase in sea pay. Enactment of the recommendations required both Presidential and Congressional approval.
MCPON Crow's travel schedule for his first year in office was an ambitious one. In January, he visited bases in Key West, Jacksonville, Mayport, and Pensacola, Florida; in February, he was in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Puerto Rico, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Bermuda; in March he was back to Texas for visits to NAS Beeville and NAS Kingsville; in April, he took a WESTPAC swing through Hawaii, Midway, Guam, Okinawa, Philippines, Japan,
Australia and Adak; in May, he was in Memphis, Tennessee, Great Lakes, Illinois, and Brunswick, Maine, Newport, Rhode Island, and New London, Connecticut; in June, he was in Argentia, Newfoundland, Keflavic, Iceland, and on a European swing through Holy Loch, Edzell, Scotland; Thurso, Brawdy, Wales; Naples, Gaeta, Italy; La Maddelena, Sardinia; Nea Maakri, Greece; Sigonella, Sicily; Rota, Spain; and Augsburg, Germany; in August and September, he was on the West Coast visiting San Diego area bases, Long Beach, Pt. Mugu, China Lake, California; Fallon, Nevada; NAS Whidbey Island, Seattle, and Bremerton, Washington; and San Francisco and Alameda, California.
During his travels, Crow began noticing "a strong desire and some commendable effort by many of our senior petty officers, chief petty officers and officers to put our leadership back on course."
He also noted "side effects" from "the vicious circle of people working longer and harder to accomplish the jobs necessary to meet ever increasing commitments."
"As the retention of our mid‑career people declines," he wrote in Direct Line, "the hours and work load per person increases. This vicious circle has created many side effects that have affected morale and training of those who need it most."
He urged the more experienced senior petty officers to provide encouragement and support to the younger sailors.
"Keeping a positive attitude in the face of an apparent lack of concern on the part of our leaders in Congress and the American public for our ability to survive in an economy that has gone crazy is difficult," he wrote. "It puts those of us who love the Navy and who truly care about our future to the test of dedication and loyalty."
In March 1980, Crow served as the principal speaker at the commissioning of the destroyer Deyo in Pascagoula, Mississippi. His speech centered on the state of the Navy in terms of ships, weapons, and force levels. He closed his address paying tribute to the "520,000 individuals who are currently giving a part of their lives to the Navy."
"Although today's Navy has had its share of quantitative and qualitative shortfalls," he said, "I continue to receive reports praising the high caliber of professionalism and dedication on the part of our men and women."
Drug abuse gained even more attention in 1980. A DOD survey, answered anonymously by service personnel, revealed that 47 percent of Navy and Marine Corps E‑1 to E‑5 population had used marijuana at some time in the previous 30 days prior to completing the questionnaire. Twenty‑six percent of junior enlisted reported in the survey that they had been under the influence of drugs while at work and nearly one‑half reported using drugs on 40 or more occasions in the previous year. The survey also showed that the
percentage of heavy drinkers ‑ five or more drinks on one occasion at least once a week ‑ was 25.6 percent.
In 1981, results of autopsies on 14 sailors killed in the crash of an EA‑6B Prowler on the deck of Nimitz revealed that six of the flight deck crew had traces of marijuana in their blood.
In July 1981, the CNO declared a "War on Drugs" with a "Zero Tolerance" for use of illegal drugs. Urinalysis testing began with new recruits at point of entry within 48 hours of arrival at boot camp and again immediately upon arrival at first training school.
"Senior enlisted leadership, including the fleet and force master chiefs, were way out in front in the battle," Crow said. "They were adamantly against it. The majority of them felt that if you 'do drugs, you're out' with no rehabilitation. We felt that there was enough good people in the Navy who didn't do drugs but we had to temper our stand. Because of the extent of the problem, you couldn't kick everybody out."
At the outset of the urinalysis program, Naval hospitals were overwhelmed by the volume of specimens arriving daily for testing.
"It was a big fiasco," Crow said. "We finally developed a viable effective urinalysis program that you could trust. If it came back positive, you knew it wasn't because they had been eating poppy seed buns at McDonalds."
In The Direct Line, Crow encouraged chiefs, senior chiefs, and master chiefs to become knowledgeable about the drug abuse problem.
"We must become more aware of the symptoms of drug use and how it exhibits itself in the people who abuse it," he wrote. "No one is immune to it and we have seen involvement in the drug scene at every level of our organization, young people, junior and senior petty officers, chiefs and officers.
"I believe it is safe to say that today you, as chiefs, senior chiefs, and master chiefs must either be part of the problem or part of the solution. The middle ground no longer exists to hide behind or excuse the lack of involvement that put us where we find ourselves today."
Using the Vote
Getting sailors interested in the legislative process and encouraging them to vote became a critical issue for the MCPON and Mrs. Crow during their visits with sailors and their families. They were joined in this effort by fraternal organizations such as FRA, NCOA, Navy Wives Clubs, and others.
"We tried to create an awareness of the voting records of Congressmen so they could see who were their real friends in Congress and who they could blame for the lack of pay and compensation," Crow said.
According to Mrs. Crow, many of the wives "had no clue as to where pay came from or the voting process."
"I told them if we want change, we've got to vote," she said.
"We were pushing for Congress to establish a fair wage for the military," Crow said. "Garbage workers were making more than trained technicians in the Navy. There is no way you can pay someone adequately for the sacrifices military service requires or for the willingness to go in harm's way for your country. But it was a very sad time in those days. Some of our Navy families were on welfare."
Habitability became another concern of Crow's. As a force master chief, he had served as an enlisted representative on the Shipboard Habitability Steering Committee.
"We were fighting a bitter battle with the operational mentality of our ship designers and planners," he said. "Minimal attention was given to bunk space in new construction. They were more concerned about air conditioning for computer spaces, and weapons systems. We were able as a group to raise consciousness in the design of berthing compartments."
Providing better living conditions for the crews of ships undergoing overhaul in shipyards was an even greater problem.
"Berthing barges in shipyards were always a problem," he said. "They were set up in an industrial factory. In earlier days, no consideration was given to what happened to a crew when their ship went to the yards. Noise levels were high, especially when a machine shop was put on one end of the barge and berthing on the other. We got that stopped but it never got to what I would call satisfactory."
Carriers coming into overhaul presented an even larger challenge for berthing facilities. In the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, adequate berthing for carrier crews was nonexistent. The steering committee was able to convince the Navy to bring out a mothballed Military Sea Transport Service ocean liner for use as living area for carrier sailors.
"We brought it up near the yard and parked it," Crow said. "It wasn't easy to get approval because it had never been done before. Everyone was looking for negatives, why we couldn't do it. Finally, we overcame simply because there were no alternatives."
In his visits to shore facilities, he discovered that habitability problems weren't limited to ships.
"I can honestly state that I have seen and lived in quarters during my travels that range from Skid Row to the Hilton," he wrote in The Direct Line. "Some of our bases have accomplished improvements far beyond minimum requirements. We still have many bases, however, that operate on the premise that a bunk, locker, and perhaps a slightly used, but hard, chair is all our bachelor sailors need. Beyond that, not much is provided to make the BEQ home."
Crow pointed out that upgrading the quality of life for sailors may be a
matter of "where there's a will, there seems to be a way."
I understand the shortage of funds that exist, but I have seen what can be done with available funding when the people in charge are creative and have a sincere concern for making living quarters more comfortable and attractive."
He noted that a recent conference had been held in San Diego to examine quality of life issues in AIRPAC.
"Representatives from commands Navy‑wide participated," he said, "and I hope their work will become visible in the quality of life and habitability of our ships and stations in the near future."
By the middle of his second year, Crow was seeing encouraging signs that "Pride and Professionalism" was taking root. During a trip to the West Coast, he visited ten ships, among them the Alamo, St. Louis, William H. Standley, and Merrill.
"These ships stand out in my memory as squared away, clean, and sharp,
Senior Enlisted Heads of the Armed Forces (1‑r) are: Sergeant Major Connelly, USA; Sergeant Major Crawford, USMC; MCPON Crow, Chief Master Sergeant McCoy, USAF; and MCPOCG Stevens, USCG.
with crews of sailors led by COs who have instilled pride in their ships and self esteem in their people," he wrote proudly in The Direct Line. "'Pride and Professionalism' standards of quality that are enforced and supported do promote good morale and positive attitudes. The most rewarding element of the whole process is that it doesn't require harassment or chicken s‑‑t actions to make it happen."
Crow was optimistic for other reasons midway through his tenure. A new administration and new faces in Congress heralded positive changes in pay and compensation.
"The other shoe is about to drop," he wrote, "and within the next two months, we will see either a July pay raise or a substantial catch‑up pay increase in October along with the cost of living allowance and several other benefits."
Crow began using "bi‑words" in his travels around the fleet. Along with "Pride and Professionalism," he encouraged people to follow their conscience because it was "The Right Thing To Do." To make the drug abuse policy clear and concise, he used, "Not on my watch, not on my ship, not in my Navy," and "Just say no to drugs."
Operations Specialist Third Class Boyd S. Tveit, attached to Samuel Eliot Morison designed a poster to give the Navy's drug program an image. It was a stem of marijuana encircled and crossed by the symbol universally used for "no." By June 1982, Crow could report "tremendous progress and improvement across the board" in military appearance, attitudes, morale, and a feeling of well‑being around the fleet.
Uniforms replaced pay as the most frequently heard complaints.
"It would take a book to list or recount all the gripes and complaints I have heard in my travels during the past two years," he wrote in The Direct Line. "We have attained a point now that is vitally important for you to participate in putting the problems behind us and concentrate on educating your sailors on the requirements they must function with now."
He asked for support in working with the Navy Resale and Support System, Navy Supply System and the Navy Uniform Shop managers in reaching a point of stability and common sense in uniform matters.
"Unfortunately, a great deal of the griping and complaining has come from our more senior people and much of it from chiefs," he wrote. "Some examples are the new service dress whites (choker), the white hat, and the decision to allow the command ball caps in working areas only, the introduction of summer khaki, and the phasing‑in of the bell bottom and jumper uniforms for E‑6 and below. These decisions are made and are here to stay."
A sampling from the 1981 Uniform Regulations shows the following changes: jumper uniform package prescribed (required) for all E‑1 to E‑5 men who entered the Navy on or after May 1, 1980, optional to all other E‑1 to E‑5
men until May 1, 1983, at which time jumper style uniforms will be required. Jumper style uniforms also optional for E‑6 men; dungarees/utility uniforms are interchangeable at the option of the individual. Men's dungarees become mandatory July 1, 1982; only flame retardant clothing will be worn when engaged in hot work such as welding or brazing, when exposed to open flame, such as during boiler light‑off operations or spark producing work such as grinding; summer khaki uniform reintroduced for officers and CPOs; safety shoes required for enlisted men, E‑6 and below; maternity dungaree uniform authorized for E‑6 and below.
Support for Families
Navy family service centers really began to come into their own during Crow's tour. The impetus for the program was the Navy Family Awareness Conference held in Norfolk, Virginia, in November 1978.
At the conference, attended by more than 700, Admiral Hayward stressed the Navy's total commitment to taking care of needs of Navy families because "it is the right thing to do."
"The Navy gives insufficient attention to family needs and programs and policies to support families are inadequate and fragmented," the conference concluded. As a result, the Navy established its Family Support Program through a flag level steering group in 1979 and began funding its network of family service centers.
In July 1979, the doors of the pilot family services center in Norfolk officially opened, heralding a new era for the Navy family. At the center, Navy members or family members could tap into an around‑the clock information and referral service, short‑term counseling on walk‑in basis, and seminars on military rights and benefits, consumer education, financial planning, and other topics.
In San Diego, California, five Navy Assistance Centers focused primarily on improving the coordination and use of both Navy and civilian resources and services in the area.
By 1981, four additional family service centers opened in areas with large Navy population. Dr. Ann O'Keefe, former director of both the Home Start Program and the Child and Family Resource Program of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, took over as director of the Family Program Branch of the Human Resource Management Division in 1979. Her staff of seven Navy military members and two civilian professionals in child and family development provided policy, technical guidance, and evaluation to the family service centers.
MCPON and Mrs. Crow worked closely with Dr. O'Keefe, providing her with input they received from sailors and their families.
'We made it a point to monitor the program's growth wherever we visited," Crow said. "With the emphasis on family support and the creation of family service centers, command master chiefs had a wide array of services available
to them to help their sailors and their families. In the past, the only resource was to send them to the chaplain."
Command ombudsmen became the bridge between a command and the family service centers.
"Together the command master chief and the ombudsman work to keep the commanding officer informed," he said. "A command works best when the commanding officer, executive officer, ombudsman, and command master chief work hand in glove."
Changing of the Watch
In June 1982, Admiral Hayward was relieved by Admiral James D. Watkins as the CNO.
In the November 1982 issue of The Direct Line, Crow said goodbye. He expressed satisfaction that "our good chiefs are taking the aggressive role of bringing the others on board with us so that our chief s community can once again be respected for its vital role in the chain of command and for our inherited ability and ingenuity of taking care of problems at the lowest level," he wrote.
Much of the "fear, frustration and anger" that he found in the Navy was gone by the time he turned over the office. Junior officers had become more sensitive and aware of the role of chiefs in the command and a mutual respect was beginning to take hold.
Navy families were receiving support through individual commands and family service centers; ombudsmen were considered essential links in a well‑functioning command; and for the first time, the Navy had an official policy on child care operations. Navy paychecks were based on a "fairer" wage scale, relieving the financial burden for many of the families.
Drug abuse in the Navy was decreasing and sailors were taking more pride in their jobs, their uniforms and their physical appearance.
"As I leave the Navy to enter into a new career, I look back with a positive feeling about our Navy today," he wrote. "It is not now and probably never will be without problems. I have enjoyed the unique opportunity of participating in a revitalization of many traditional things that had served us well in the past, had been pushed away for a period of years and then brought back alive to serve us well again."
After retirement, Crow returned to National University in San Diego as the associate director for career development. Within a year, he had completed his master's degree and accepted a position with General Dynamics Convair in Human Resources in management education and training. Today, he is the chief of management development and motivational training for General Dynamics Convair.
San Diego Union Tribune - Saturday, December 6 2008
By Jeff Ristine
December 6, 2008
Thomas S. Crow was appalled by the issues on the minds of a group he was addressing as the Navy's master chief petty officer at a time when the branch was plagued with low morale, poor professionalism and low retention in the ranks.
After taking a series of questions focused on the petty officers' personal ambitions – for some it was the difficulty in getting transferred or promoted – the master chief decided to make a point.
“OK, I'm done here unless there are questions about the sailors that work for you, or how we can make our Navy better,” Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Crow said in a story recounted by John Hagan, who witnessed the event and later held the master chief position himself. “Otherwise, this whining and pity party is over.”
“It was a tough thing to do, and I was very impressed by it,” Hagan said, adding that the master chief told the service members he was sad to learn their concerns were seemingly so self-centered. “I recall going back to the ship pretty invigorated by it.”
Colleagues say Master Chief Crow never lost his passion for sailors in his three years as the top enlisted person, which capped a 30-year career in the Navy that took him from aviation mechanics to race-relations training.
Master Chief Crow died of cancer at his Rancho Peñasquitos home on Nov. 30 at age 74.
As a youngster, raised in a poor area of southern Ohio by his grandmother after his mother died, he was heavily influenced by the sight of an uncle, in uniform and carrying a sea bag, walking toward his school after returning home from World War II.
After he graduated high school, the image was still with him.
“Things weren't real good in '53 and that's why he joined the Navy, because of that memory of his uncle,” said his wife of 39 years, Carol Crow.
Master Chief Crow spent about 20 years in aviation mechanics before transferring to human relations, where he became one of the Navy's first equal-opportunity specialists.
His decision to make the Navy a career was not a surprise.
“I think it was always there,” his wife said. “He loved the Navy.”
He was selected as master chief petty officer of the Navy in June 1979 and was the fourth man to serve in that job. Hagan said that the appointment came amid a heavy emphasis on “pride and professionalism” in the Navy, and that Master Chief Crow was determined to get the chiefs under him “to take a leadership role, and lead by example.”
He was also involved in the creation of the Navy's Senior Enlisted Academy, which would provide training for senior and master chiefs in newly defined roles.
Master Chief Crow was at the forefront of a zero-tolerance approach to drugs in the Navy, telling the chief of naval operations that “you cannot take half measures,” Hagan recalled.
He also took interest in improving the day-to-day lives of sailors on issues ranging from pay to living conditions on ships berthed for noisy industrial work.
“I came from out in the fleet and I wanted to see the Navy through that set of eyes,” he was quoted as saying in a Navy book, “Winds of Change.” “I was not going to allow the job to turn me into a bureaucrat . . . who would bring back to the CNO (chief of naval operations) what I thought he wanted to hear.”
Master Chief Crow left the Navy in 1982 and went to work for the Convair division of General Dynamics in management education and motivational training. When the aerospace unit closed in 1995, he spent a year with the Navy under contract to teach total quality leadership, but he disliked the heavy travel involved and retired for good.
In retirement, he converted his two-car garage into a woodworking shop and produced dollhouse furniture and other toys for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Carol Crow said.
Survivors include his wife, Carol; five sons, John and Joel of San Diego, Thomas of Washington, Stephen of Tennessee and Steve of Nevada; two daughters, Teri Laslo of Virginia and Candace Barnes of Mississippi; 27 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at the Airman Memorial Chapel at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. Interment at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery will be at 1 p.m. A four-aircraft “missing man” flyby to honor the master chief is scheduled at about 1:30 p.m.
Jeff Ristine: (619) 293-1332; email@example.com