Retirement won’t stop Campa from serving
November 27, 2008
ARLINGTON, Va. — He may be leaving the Navy, but he’s not finished with Washington.
"I think I’m going to find another way to serve our nation, maybe somewhere in government," said outgoing Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Joe Campa.
Asked if he intended to run for office, Campa replied: "I don’t rule that out in the future."
Campa’s retirement ceremony is slated for Dec. 12. He officially leaves the Navy on April 1 after 29 years of service.
Whether it is working in government or closely with government, Campa said he wants to help veterans and their families in his next job.
"Our nation owes them a debt of gratitude, especially our returning wounded warriors, so if there is something I can do in that realm, I’d be interested in doing that," he said.
But first, Campa is going to take some time off and weigh his options.
At whatever job he takes, Campa will bring the "ability to lead" to the table, he said.
"I consider myself the leader of our Navy’s chief’s mess, which is about 38,000 strong; and the senior enlisted sailor in the Navy, a force — what have we got, about 280,000 enlisted right now — being able to lead a global enlisted force like that is a challenging task."
Campa was selected as the Navy’s senior enlisted sailor in June 2006. At the time, he was command master chief at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
During his tenure, he formally articulated what is expected of chiefs and made those expectations part of chiefs’ evaluations, he said.
As he prepares to leave the Navy, there are a few initiatives he wished he had seen to completion, such as creating separate evaluations for seamen and petty officers; formalizing a chief’s standards and conduct board as an alternative to captain’s mast; and stressing warfare qualifications.
"The warfare qualifications, I think are important, but over the years, what I have personally seen is they’ve drifted from their true intent," Campa said.
Qualifications such as the surface warfare qualification are meant to teach sailors how to survive in a hostile environment, said Campa, a former corpsman.
"They are not people programs," he said. "They are not, you know, get your warfare pins so you can be eligible for promotion."
Campa said his advice to his successor is to remember that he or she is a chief petty officer first.
"You can lose that perspective being in this position because you are treated differently than what you are probably normally used to," he said.
Despite being in such a prominent job, the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy has the same responsibilities to sailors and their families as other chiefs, Campa said.
"You’re not above the chief’s mess; you’re not outside of the chief’s mess; you need to continue to work through the chief’s mess to get this job done," he said.