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    The Sailor’s Cutlass is Passed at Naval Hospital Bremerton

    The Sailor’s Cutlass is Passed at Naval Hospital Bremerton

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | There was a symbolic passing of responsibility and accountability as the Sailor’s...... read more read more



    Story by Douglas Stutz 

    Naval Hospital Bremerton

    There was a symbolic passing of responsibility and accountability as the Sailor’s cutlass shimmered in the sun, and shined with historical legacy when handled.

    Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Command Master Chief James Reynolds formally passed the cutlass to Command Master Chief Robert Stockton during a Change of Charge ceremony, May 15, 2019.

    “This is a significant ceremony, rich in heritage and forged by the sea. The responsibility that our command master chief has to mentor our Navy’s Sailors as well as provide professional guidance to our wardroom is unique in the armed forces. It is a great credit to the leadership of Command Master Chief Reynolds that he has been a transcendent leader for our command during a time of significant change and upon retiring is leaving us in good hands with Command Master Chief Stockton,” said Capt. Jeffrey Bitterman, NHB commanding officer.

    The Sailor’s cutlass has long been a symbol of utility and service for its new caretaker. It will be displayed in NHB’s command master chief office as a constant reminder of the duty and purpose that the position holds. That office was home away from home for Reynolds since July, 2016.

    “Our Sailors have impressed me the entire time I have been here. They do so much more than when I was just starting out. The NHB Chief’s Mess is the best. Great leadership skills in there. It has (also) been an honor to work with the wardroom. Enlisted, officer, civilian, it doesn’t matter who, we are all one team here, and as one team, we have all gone through so much change with more change coming. We have proven to be very resilient. To quote an old John Wayne movie, NHB has a lot of ‘True Grit.’ We make it right and we do the best we can. I appreciate you letting me work with you and for you for these last few years,” stated Reynolds, who also retires upon 30 years of naval service on May 17, 2019.

    With the commanding officer presiding over the change of charge ceremony, outgoing Command Master Chief Reynolds was relieved by incoming Command Master Chief Stockton.

    After passing the cutlass to Stockton, Reynolds saluted his commanding officer, Capt. Bitterman, and declared, “Sir, I have been properly relieved of my duties as command master chief.”

    Command Master Chief Stockton turned to face his new commanding officer and affirmed, “Skipper, I have relieved Master Chief Reynolds and request permission to assume the duties and responsibilities as NHB command master chief.”

    “Permission granted,” replied Bitterman.

    Stockton, a Bremerton native, arrives at NHB from serving as command master chief for Electronic Attack Squadron 132, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

    “A strong leader’s influence on an organization and its people are felt long after their departure. In the case of Master Chief Reynolds, his impact on shaping the character and culture of NHB and guiding our success through difficult challenges will be with us for many years to come. He helped create at standard of excellence at NHB,” shared Stockton, adding that his initial impressions of the command have bolstered the feedback he heard upon accepting his new assignment.

    “I’m humbled to serve as your command master chief. What I find most impressive about our team of professionals is how they genuinely care about the person next to them. The camaraderie at every level in the command is visually noticeable and its impact on the culture of the command is obvious. I’ve seen teams working diligently together to complete our mission, witnessed mentors imparting wisdom, knowledge, and training to develop the next generation of leaders. There’s positive feeling that comes from a strong command climate. You have made a strong impression during turnover.”

    “Service is always about giving back. I want everyone to know I work for you. We will always be available, listen, and do what we can to support you. Your success is our success and we are all invested in it. I’m fired up to serve as your command master chief,” concluded Stockton.

    The seagoing Sailor’s cutlass is a shorter and heavier weapon that the officer’s slender, more personal sword, and has been considered an essential part of Navy arsenals for hundreds of year. The cutlass, considered a more rugged and functional fighting too, was racked and readily available in ship’s armory for drill and battle. It’s built to withstand the rigors at sea. It also stands as a visual reminder of service before self in the command’s master chief office.

    “It’s an appropriate symbol of our heritage,” noted Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Dennis Moore, master of ceremony.



    Date Taken: 05.15.2019
    Date Posted: 05.15.2019 18:12
    Story ID: 322559
    Location: BREMERTON , WA, US 

    Web Views: 336
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    The Sailor’s Cutlass is Passed at Naval Hospital Bremerton