Ask the Chief
Backbone of the Navy
Whenever sailors are confronted with 'unsolvable' problems--be it a fouled anchor or paint that won't dry--they often throw up their hands and exclaim, 'We'd better ask the Chief.' That refrain, heard for generations throughout the Navy, is the theme for Jack Leahy's newest book. Written at sea, his book provides a compelling picture of the Chief Petty Officer's community in the U.S. Navy. As a guest of the Chief Petty Officer's mess aboard USS George Washington during Operation Enduring Freedom, Leahy was granted complete and unfettered access to all areas of the massive carrier and the other ships in her battle group. He interviewed nearly one hundred Navy Chiefs from the aviation, surface, submarine, and special warfare communities and recounts their stories of daily life at sea. In doing so, he presents the true backbone of the modern Navy: the wisdom, character, and dignity of the Chief Petty Officer's community. This book of contemporaneous oral history follows the format that proved so successful with Leahy's earlier book on Navy boot camp. Color photographs help bring the story to life.