This is just the beginning!
Recently I was talking with a couple members of the museum crew about our time in the Navy and what it meant to each of us to have joined the finest fraternity in the world -- that is, what it meant to each of us to be a Chief Petty Officer. As we talked it became clear that each one of us had lost something significant when we retired. We lost access to "The Mess". Now I know that I can go into any CPO Mess in the world and be welcomed by my brother and sister Chiefs, but I do not have a "home" Mess, I don't have a place to hang my coffee cup up, and I don't have the easy access I once had to the agregate widom and knowledge of "The Mess"... I miss that. So this got me thinking: What if we started a mess aboard the Battleship. Not a membership level or name on a plaque, but a genuine mess where the coffee was hot and the comraderie was real. A place to hang my hat (and my coffee cup). A place where I could share and recieve advise and coucil. A place where I trulky belonged.
So I shared this idea with a few of my brothers and sisters -- some of whom served on Iowa with me in the 1980s, some of whom have gone through the final night or rights of passage aboard this great ship, some on active duty, some reserve, and some retired. Universally I found support for the idea of starting a CPO mess aboard the Battleship; that not haveing access to the Mess had left a real hole in people's lives. I shared the idea with the other members of the Battleship Iowa senior management team and received overwhelming support for the idea.
So here is the proposal: We start a Chief Petty Officer Mess aboard the Battleship. Founded by Chiefs for the benefit of Chiefs. I have the support of Pacific Battleship Center, but they (I) cannot afford to divert institution resources to this project. It is up to us, the CPO community to form, fund, and manage The Mess. I am looking for 100 Navy and Coast Guard Chiefs to commit to this project. The Battleship is willing to dedicate space to our newly formed mess, as well as to give us access to the original Chief Petty Officer Lounge and Mess aboard Battleship Iowa for events. Obviously there will be a necessity for dues, so that this becomes self-sustaining -- I will say again here that this is not a "museum membership level" this is a genuine mess for Genuine Chiefs. There are a lot of details to work out but we are forming a core group of Chiefs to work through the details starting with HTC (SW/AW) David Moser USN (Ret.), NCC(AW), Nicolerena Cole USN, and myself, ENC(SWCC/SW) David Canfield USNr (Ret.). If this sounds like an interesting adventure to you, and you want to get in at the beginning and be part of the 1st 100 members -- those who will form this new Mess and help set its direction, plese fill out the form below. Thank you, and "Welcome to the Mess!"