PRESERVING A MILITARY LEGACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
The following Reflection represents SCPO Donald Brogdon’s legacy of their military service from 1993 to 2001. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.
Of all your duty stations you were assigned to from your Military Service, which one(s) do you have fondest memories of and why?
The duty station with the best (and worst) memories was my ship in Japan. I was a 1st class when I got there, and I had 24 Sailors that I was responsible for in my division. They didn’t know me, and I didn’t know them, and like most introductions at new duty stations, we began the testing phase right away. They wanted to see just how much they could get away,y with, and I knew that I couldn’t back down no matter how painful it became. I think we have all done that at some point. There was a lot of push and shove, but nothing we didn’t manage to survive. I made it clear from the very beginning that I always expected more from them than anyone else on the ship. No one in this world owes you anything; you earn everything. That’s what you need to do to be successful if you decide to make the Navy a career.
Over the next three years, we would spend countless hours and days together with nothing but oceans and seas on all sides of us. We would be involved in some of the largest Naval exercises in decades, and our patience and professionalism would be tested to the end and back. We would do everything from Ballistic Missile Defense to Search and Rescue and see each other through life events such as the birth of our children, demotions, promotions, deaths, and so much more.
I had earned a favorable reputation in my short time there, so I was given a little more leniency that some of the other in my peer group. I was able to discipline my Sailors in most cases, but there was still a definite line drawn in the sand that I was not permitted to cross. One day an announcement was made on the 1MC, and it was revealed that I had been selected for CPO. Needless to say, I was very happy and just figured it was the Navy’s way of saying, “Hey, we think you’re doing a good enough job and think you are the right fit for what we are looking for in the CPO community.” Everything I would go through for the next six weeks would test me in so many ways and leave a lasting impression on me that carries forward even today.
The most memorable of all those experiences was not when I actually received my anchors. Still, the first morning muster after being in the CPO uniform when my Sailors interrupted me at Quarters and said they were happy for me and that they thought I deserved it more than anyone because they couldn’t remember a time that one of their leaders cared about them as much as I did and pushed them to be the best they could be.
That was a moment that lasted less than one minute in time, but it’s forever branded in my memory.