Navy's Senior Enlisted Man Retires After 44 Years
By Robert Dietrich,
San Diego Tribune

August 2,1985

BMCM David Hobbs
Born Nov. 17, 1921 - Died Aug. 29, 2002

Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate David Hobbs, his uniform cap square-rigged in the fashion of the pre-World War II navy and eight rows of ribbons on his iron-hard chest, yesterday said “so long,” to the Navy he served for 44 years.

Hobbs, 63, was the Command Master Chief Petty Officer of the San Diego-based aircraft carrier Ranger until the moment yesterday when he was given the U.S. flag that flew over the flattop on its most recent deployment _ to Central American and into the Persian Gulf.

“I came into the Navy a long, long time ago,” Hobbs told the Ranger crew in a full-dress flight deck ceremony. “I came into the Navy for adventure and security and I grew up fast.”

Hobbs, believed to have been the most senior Master CPO in the Navy, began his recruit training in San Diego three months before the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

“He hitch-hiked to Pearl Harbor on board an Army B-25 (bomber) on Dec.9, not because he had to, but he saw it as his duty,” said former Ranger Commanding Officer, retired Capt. Dan Pedersen.

Pedersen, wearing civilian clothes, admitted he was breaking Navy tradition in being the principal speaker at Hobbs’ retirement. His own Navy career ended ahead of schedule three years ago in the wake of inquiries into the death of a seaman assigned to the Ranger’s correctional custody unit.

At a time when newspapers have “sometimes been harsh on people who have served” in the military, Pedersen said, they should take the time to consider men who served 25 years, 35 years, 40 years or such as Hobbs, “the senior enlisted man in the U.S. Navy, before we hurt an organization that’s more than 200 years old.”

Hobbs said he plans to visit his parents in Prentis, Tenn., something he was only able to do four times in his 44 Navy years.

“I’ve got some cat fishing to do,” he said after shaking hands with the last of the Ranger’s CPOs and embracing his wife, a former Marine sergeant.

Article submitted by 
G.D. Gradel












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