Warrior of the Week: Chief Navy Diver Kevin Chinn

Story and photos by MC2 (SW) Mark Logico

Commander Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

A Navy diver assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit

ONE (MDSU-1) is this week’s Joint Base Pearl

Harbor-Hickam Warrior of the Week, Oct 7.

Chief Navy Diver Kevin Chinn has been in the Navy for more than 11 years. During his service, he has travelled to several locations around the world and has served aboard

USS Safeguard (ARS 50) and USS Emory S. Land (AS-39). Chinn was recently promoted to chief petty officer during this year’s promotion cycle.

“I made chief because I have great leadership, great peers and great subordinates who I’ve worked with throughout my career,” Chinn said. “My subordinates have always been great. They’ve worked really hard for me. The leadership has always done what they can to support me, putting me in leadership positions.

I’ve always worked really well with my peers.”

Chinn was one of 29 Navy Divers Navy-wide who advanced to chief petty officer. Chinn said he felt good to make rank as quickly as he did.

“I felt I could use more time as a first class petty officer,” Chinn said. “The only reason I say this is because I have a lot of buddies of mine who are E-6s who have a lot more time in the Navy than I do. If it were really up to me I would rather see them make it now, and me waiting a couple of years just because I think it’s fair. But life’s not fair all the time, and I’m not going to turn down a promotion either.”

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Chinn joined the Navy within a month of graduating from high school.

“I just wanted to get out of the rut,” said Chinn. “I started working when I was 15 years old. I had different jobs growing up, and I didn’t really want to go to college. More than anything, I joined because I was looking for adventure.”

During an assignment in Italy, Chinn was part of the team who performed harbor clearance work in Santo Stefano Island north of Sardinia, Italy. According to Chinn, he and his team extracted more than a million pounds of debris from the harbor floor, successfully clearing the harbor for safe passage.

“There’s absolutely nothing cooler than riding down on the stage in a MK-21 in heavy boots on and hit the bottom, and you start walking across the bottom of the ocean picking up and rigging helicopters, airplanes, ships, sail boats, amphibious assault vehicles,” Chinn said. “Harbor clearances where you’re just walking around with so much stuff you can’t even imagine you can get them all out.”

Despite Chinn’s experiences, he still believes there’s still a lot to learn.

“Even as a new chief, I still have a lot of learning to do,” Chinn said. “Being a chief is completely different, and I haven’t really realized it all yet, but now as a chief we’re responsible for mentoring our junior officers, learning his career path. I have to set him up as well as my junior personnel.

“To be a good Navy diver I think that you just need to believe in the camaraderie of the team that you are a part of. The people who don’t believe in that are … Those are the people who are detrimental to this type of system.”

Currently, Chinn plans to take the Master Diver written exam.

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Category: News