Thursday, May 30, 2013

RIP, Chief Sefchick

I'm late to the party on this one. Both the ships I served on have Facebook groups. Lately the group for the U.S.S. Oldendorf (DD-972) has been very active, so I started reading through threads. That's when I found out my favorite chief passed away.

EWC (Electronic Warfare Technician Chief Petty Officer) James Sefchick passed away in December 2012. I doubt anyone reading this blog knows what I'm talking about.

In the Navy, a Chief Petty Officer is an E-7. It's a special kind of thing. At E-7, they go through some secret society type initiation, and put on khakis. I believe even if they mess up, it takes an act of Congress to punish them. They're considered leaders.

Most of them didn't impress me. Jim did. I thought he's what a chief should be. He was an excellent technician, and a mature leader. Even though I didn't work for him, he had the patience to deal with younger sailors like me. I would have been happy to have him as a chief.

Even as a CPO, he was still a friend. Some chiefs let it go to their head. Not Jim. I have some fond memories of drinking with him a few times. He was also a smoker, which is where I know him from, since I smoked at the time. He was one of my smoking buddies. You'd be amazed how much business gets done on a ship in the smoking area.

The scary thing is, I'm in the middle of being divorced by my wife, and I'm much sadder to hear about the passing away of EWC James Sefchick than I am about the death of my 12 year marriage. This actually makes me want to cry.

Last time I saw Jim was in 1999, when I went back to San Diego for a friend's bachelor party (Hat Tip, Chris). Some of the festivities were at Jim's house. I had a great time, and I'm now grateful for those last memories.

RIP, Jim. You were the model of what a Chief Petty Officer should have been, and you were a great friend. You were a very bright spot during some dark times in my brief Navy career. You were one of those people that made things better just knowing you were around and were willing to listen and provide the right advice at the right time. The people who worked for you loved you. I'm glad you were there.

Jim was 56 at his passing. I was 24 when I left the Navy in 1998. Jim seemed to have been around a long time, even though I'm probably older now than he was then.
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