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Senior officer promoted to high rank
Command Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate Robert Everson supervises flight operations on the flight deck aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4).
Robert Everson's 24-year Navy career has advanced at near record pace for a non-commissioned officer.

Everson, who calls both Darien and Brunswick home, reached the rank of master chief in 18 years, which is virtually unheard of in that period of time.

"When I first met Master Chief Everson, I thought, 'So this is our new master chief. He looks pretty young for his rank,'" said Aviation Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Ursula Gnan. "Come to find out, he made E-9 (grade) in record time."

Now, Everson has reached another milestone -- command master chief. He is currently assigned as the air department's leading chief petty officer aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer, which is home ported at Naval Station San Diego. The Boxer is currently on patrol in the Pacific Ocean.

Everson is scheduled to take the command master chief position for Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 75, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, in 2014.

"Master Chief Everson is going to be a tremendous (command master chief)," said Boxer's Command Master Chief Todd Gruchalla. "When you look up deck plate leader in the Blue Jacket Manual, there should be a picture of Master Chief Everson. He truly cares about his sailors."

There were very few doubts that Everson would not get accepted for the command master chief program.

"It wasn't a surprise when he made it," said Master Chief Personnel Specialist Jimmie McNuckle. "He is one of the most phenomenal leaders that I've ever met in my 21 years in the Navy. He coordinates calm leadership in any situation. If I had to describe him, it would be a person who knows how to take care of business the right way with the new (generation of) sailors, while incorporating the old school rules."

Everson says he had no idea that he would make it a career when he joined the Navy.

"At first I was only going to do my four years and get out," he said. "After I joined, I really enjoyed it. I started to advance real fast. I was a second class petty officer before my three-year mark."

Everson attributes much of his success to his mentors.

"They told me not to shy away from the hard jobs, and don't run away from responsibility," he said. "Anytime there was a job that was challenging, I did not run. I learned to take on a lot of responsibility early on."

Now, he is the one giving others advice and guiding them toward becoming better sailors.

Lt. Joe Painter, a public affairs officer for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tenn., says Everson's appointment is among the most difficult for a non-commissioned officer to reach.

"It really is a big deal," Painter said. "They're looking for those personality traits that translate into being a leader. You have to want to do it."

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at, on Facebook or at 464-7655.

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