The U.S. Navy’s longest-serving, active duty chief petty officer in today’s fleet retired after 34 years of service on April 1, 2021 — on the birthday of the U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.
Force Master Chief James Osborne donned anchors 26 years ago while serving at Afloat Training Group San Diego. Since then his career has taken him to 15 commands across the fleet, many of which have centered around damage control training and the critical role it plays in the success of our force. His service culminated as the Force Master Chief for Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Force Pacific.
During his retirement Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith, U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief James Honea, and senior enlisted leaders outlined the constellation of impacts he has made on our fleet.
“Force Master Chief Osborne represents the best of our Navy’s senior leaders. He should take great pride in the fact that our Navy stands ready to answer the call, thanks to his leadership and service. His tireless, relentless efforts to drive combat readiness into our surface forces will advantage our Navy in any conflict we face in the years to come,” Smith said.
Osborne joined the Navy as a Damage Controlman and spent many years training Sailors across the fleet in his craft. During his tenure at U.S. Naval Surface Force Pacific, Osborne has made it a point to emphasize the importance of damage control readiness and team dynamics each time he set foot on the deckplates. According to Honea, he has provided mentorship of this caliber for many years. The two formerly served together aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as Second Class Petty Officers and have remained mentors and friends with one another ever since.
“Today marks the 128th birthday of the U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer and it’s bittersweet. I’m saying farewell to a shipmate, mentor, and outstanding Chief Petty Officer” Honea said. “We are in uncertain times. Chiefs are constantly asked to provide a vision of a future while delivering an even better outcome. There is no better example of a leader that has taken this charge and delivered, than James. He was asked to share this vision for our surface forces and has delivered by refining our warrior ethos of our surface Sailors. He understands the price of leadership and has willingly paid into it every day for over three decades. Now it’s time to give him back to his wonderful family.”
The Charlotte, N.C. native, remarked during his ceremony that he plans to stay connected to his Navy family regardless of where his next chapter with his family takes him.