Plackett Selected As Navy’s Senior Enlisted Man
WASHINGTON (AP) _ William H. Plackett, a 28-year veteran of the Navy, was selected Wednesday as the service’s senior enlisted man by Adm. James D. Watkins.
Plackett, 48, will assume his duties this fall as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy following the retirement of Master Chief Billy C. Sanders.
Watkins, the chief of naval operations, hailed Plackett Wednesday as among ″the best and brightest of the enlisted leadership.″ He added that he would be relying on Plackett ″to take the pulse of the Navy, particularly the young enlisted personnel.″
″It’s a very important job and one to which I assign the highest priority,″ Watkins said.
Plackett, who was introduced during a Pentagon ceremony along with his wife Karen, is currently the master chief for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, Va. A native of Paxton, Ill., he joined the Navy on Oct. 18, 1956, and was trained as a radioman.
Plackett has served in a variety of land and sea posts, including duty on the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain, in Naples, Italy, and aboard the aircraft carrier Forrestal. He holds a bachelor of science degree in vocational education from the University of West Florida and has won the Meritorious Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, among others.
Plackett described Watkins’ announcement Wednesday as ″the proudest moment of my Navy life.″
″I stand here a pretty proud man,″ he added. ″My life really began when I joined the Navy.″
Plackett was selected by Watkins from among 41 candidates and three other finalists. The four finalists have been in Washington for the past week, receiving a series of briefings and being interviewed by Watkins and other officers.
The position of master chief petty officer was created by the Navy in 1967. In essence, the master chief serves as the principal adviser to the chief of naval operations on all matters involving enlisted personnel.
Sanders, who will be retiring after serving the standard three years in the post, said in an earlier interview that Plackett could look forward to being on the road 65 percent of the time, visiting sailors around the world and making sure Navy policies and regulations make sense in practice.
″The one thing that I will recommend to my successor is to keep the line of communications open and tell it like it is,″ Sanders said.
″When you go throughout our Navy and find things that maybe aren’t pleasant, you’ve got to come back and report them without any bias. That’s very difficult, but it’s the only way that problems and concerns can be addressed and solved.″
Plackett and his wife currently reside in Virginia Beach, Va. They have four children. Plackett will assume his new duties in early October.