FORT EUSTIS, Va. –
Navy Chief Petty Officer Benjamin Allen, the non-commissioned officer in charge of current operations for Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS), accepted the 2017 Senior Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) of the Year Award during a ceremony at U.S. Northern Command headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, April 4, 2018.
To win this award, Allen competed against senior NCOs from eight other units that fall under U.S. Northern Command.
"I wasn't looking for any recognition," Allen said. "I was just trying to do the right thing by the command. To me, this award means all my hard work and efforts have not gone unnoticed."
Allen has been in the Navy for over 16 years, starting out as a damage controlman. In layman's terms, that's a firefighter for the Navy. When he first enlisted, his goals did not include a military career.
"I didn't plan on staying in," Allen said. "I was going to do my four years and get out. But I ended up staying because I enjoyed the traveling and the job satisfaction. There's a sense of brotherhood and comradery that I didn't think I would get in the civilian world."
After earning the position of senior NCO two years ago, Allen worked hard to live up to the history and reputation of the Navy rank of chief petty officer.
"As a chief, it's a completely different world than being a first class," he explained. "When you're a first class you have a lot of responsibility with less authority. As a chief, you are the resident expert and you have all of the authority."
His career with the Navy has taken him from the Riverine Squadron 2 in Little Creek, Va., to Assault Craft Unit 5 at Camp Pendleton, Calif., with stops all over the world between. The same sense of comradery and duty that encouraged him to stay with the military 12 years ago also led him to receiving the Senior NCO award. He credits his hard work and ability to stay focused on the commander's end state as the reasons he stood out among the other candidates.
Allen had some advice to any new chiefs.
"Remember your roots and continue to support and look after your junior personnel," Allen said. "Support your overall mission and remain humble at the same time."