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My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 12, 2021

Deckplate Leader of the Week: Senior Chief Petty Officer Kevin Johnson

Our deckplate leader of the week is  Senior Chief Petty Officer Kevin Johnson, a culinary specialist assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton!

Johnson supervises seven culinary specialists and is responsible for the planning and preparation of meals for 160 crewmembers while underway and 120 -140 crewmembers. While in port, he manages the procurement, storage, and disposition of all food and non-food supplies, and controls a $190,000 underway food inventory budget and $48-68,000 monthly in port subsistence operating allowance budget.

Johnson has already accomplished a tremendous amount of success while aboard Hamilton since reporting in the summer of 2020. He leads from the front - actively participates in daily meal break-outs with the culinary specialist division, oversees all store on-loads, and champions daily ship sanitation requirements according to COVID guidelines. As the food service officer, Johnson is responsible for the planning and preparation of meals for 160 crewmembers while underway in addition to a various number of migrants and/or detainees, mission dependent. Hamilton’s galley has become well-known throughout the afloat community due to its exceptional quality of meals - fresh baked goods, handmade pizza dough, flavorful natural ingredients, and homemade side-dishes. The team's hard work without a doubt helped to promote crew morale, and was most notably on display during several VIP visits. 

Johnson goes above and beyond in support of the command senior chief's duties and Chiefs Mess; bolsters Hamilton’s Enlisted Person of the Quarter (EPOQ) program with steady nominee submissions. He provides strong nominations outside of the support department in an effort to recognize the hard work of others especially Hamilton’s [non-rated members] who mess cook in port and underway. Johnson spearheaded the initiative to update Hamilton’s outdated and worn-out dinning décor - replaced mess deck, Chiefs Mess, and wardroom table top covers displaying a newly redesigned Hamilton’s emblem. Johnson assisted Hamilton’s master at arms with the ship-wide clean-up plan with a focus on the forward void and unassigned space storage - expended 36-hours cleaning, reorganizing, and restocking essential patrol supplies for the galley, and crew hygienic and sanitation items. 

Johnson takes a personal interest in Hamilton’s well-being. He is often seen mentoring junior members inside and outside of the Chief Mess, whether its casual conversation over a cup of coffee in the morning or "breaking bread" with the junior officers while enjoying the evening meal on a duty day. He always makes himself available to Hamilton’s crew and command - provides support to crew members even while on out-of-state leave and actively engages the command senior chief with regards to personnel concerns regardless of member's department - upholding the value in every member deserves Chief representation w/in the Chiefs Mess. 

1. In your opinion, what makes a "good" chief? A good chief is someone who demonstrates through personal actions and accountability the way a Coast Guardsman should be. A good chief works hard to get the job done – lazy people cannot hold people accountable for being lazy. A good chief wears the best uniform, polishes their boots, wears a good shave and haircut, and expects the same from the others. If you don't shave, you can't hold someone accountable for not shaving, if your uniform is trash, you can't hold others accountable for wearing lousy uniforms. The way we present ourselves is the way we present our Service - Chiefs should make an ideal presentation of both.

2. What advice do you have for junior members? The Coast Guard, like everything in life, swings like a pendulum. Sometimes there are good times and sometimes there are bad times. Just know that when we are going through difficult times, that the pendulum is going to swing back the other way: Know that there are better times just over the horizon. Don't lose sight of YOUR future. Do your job, work hard, do good things and everything will work out.

Do you have a chief whom you'd like to nominate for Chief of the Week? Email Chief Petty Officer Crystalynn Kneen.