By Coleen R. San Nicolas-Perez Commander
Navy Installations Command Public Affairs 

Faces Of CNIC Mac Ralph Deines

 
Series: Veterans In The News | Story 42

Faces Of CNIC: Mac Ralph Deines ‘Success At CNIC Equals Success At Any Other Command’

From Coleen R. San Nicolas-Perez Commander,

Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

Editor’s Note: This is a special edition of Faces of CNIC in recognition of the 130th birthday of the Navy’s chief petty officer.

Chief Master-at-Arms Ralph Deines considers himself “nobody special.” Well, with all due respect to Chief Deines, the rest of us disagree.

There is something distinctive about Deines that makes him stand out from a sea of dedicated Navy chiefs. It could be how Sailors can always find him by their side on the deckplates, doing the job, and sharing his knowledge. It could be how Sailors are naturally comfortable with him and have no reluctance to go to him for help. It could also be that Deines since 2017 when he was pinned the coveted chief anchors has lived up to being the chief who “Chiefs Right and Chiefs Hard!”

'It Simply Means ... '

“It was something that was written in my charge book during CPO initiation,” Deines said. “It simply means to be the chief and do what a chief is supposed to do, and that is taking care of your Sailors by setting the example, being the technical expert and fountain of wisdom for the junior Sailors.”

Assigned to Naval Base Kitsap, Deines is the division officer of the Security Department’s Harbor Patrol Unit. He supervises 70 masters-at-arms and oversees the unit’s daily operations, which include protection of all in-port vessels and strict enforcement of force protection measures across multiple waterfronts of the strategically important Navy bases in the Kitsap Peninsula.

'That Light Bulb Moment'

“Having the ability to lead the harbor security unit, train, and mentor some of the best boat crews I have had the honor of working with makes my job worthwhile and satisfying,” Deines said of his Sailors and fellow shipmates. “Anytime something needs to be completed, my team gets it done to the highest standards. If something is not to that standard, they will take the time to learn and absorb information to create the best product possible, which is one of the more rewarding parts of my job, seeing that lightbulb moment.”

‘You Got It MA1’

Deines has certainly walked in his shipmates’ shoes, honing his skills, humbling himself, and turning to those more experienced for guidance. It was at Strategic Weapons Facility, Atlantic – his most challenging assignment – that Deines sharpened his ability to lead, and he did so by leaning on his team for support.

“Immediately upon arrival I was handed a section of 30 Sailors and told, ‘You got it MA1,’” Deines recalled. “I learned that you are not going to know everything so do not act as if you do. When I first met my Sailors, I was very honest with them and told them I did not know anything about the job they did, and I asked everyone for help as well as my peers. This went a long way and was extremely beneficial to my success at the command.”

Two Rewarding Assignments

Besides Kitsap, Deines has been stationed at other installations – two of which he describes as his most rewarding assignments.

At Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Deines oversaw multiple departments. He led the base’s Harbor Patrol Unit and the Security Department’s training division. He also served as interim kennel master of the Military Working Dogs division as well as the installation antiterrorism officer. At Naval Station Bahrain, Deines was assigned to the base’s physical security division. He conducted physical security surveys and was responsible for implementing physical security measures for waterborne assets.

'...You Can Succeed'

“CNIC is no doubt one of the most complex mission sets that an MA can be a part of in our rating,” Deines said. “It involves law enforcement, MWD, HPU, criminal investigation, and the interoperability with local and civilian entities in a diverse scope of work that changes daily. I feel if you can succeed in CNIC, you can succeed at any other command in the fleet.”

It was at NSA Bahrain where Deines, who at the time was a second class petty officer, had a chief who took him under his wing. That chief provided Deines the guidance and opportunities he needed to advance.

“If it was not for my chief out there, I probably would not be in the Navy today,” Deines said. “He helped get me a PTS quota in order to take the first class exam early to which I promoted the first time. I immediately re-enlisted and negotiated for orders, and here I am today a decade later.”

Mentoring, Supporting

Mentoring and supporting Sailors is what makes being a chief special. It is the responsibility of chiefs to coach, encourage, and challenge their teams while providing professional development opportunities. It is a responsibility chiefs do not take lightly along with their time-honored Navy traditions.

130 Years And Counting

Passing on the traditions of service and molding the next generation of chiefs is exactly what Deines is doing at Naval Base Kitsap. He, along with his fellow brothers and sisters of the Chief’s Mess, celebrate their 130th birthday on April 1.

MAC Ralph Deines and Colleagues

“Every year for the chief’s birthday is just a reminder to me of the power of the mess, and the traditions we still carry today since the donning of the first CPO cover,” Deines said. “It gives you a rush knowing that you are a part of something that only a small population will ever understand and knows what it means to keep the traditions alive today.”

Earning the rank as chief petty officer is a pinnacle moment in an enlisted Sailor’s career. Only 10 percent of Navy Sailors earn the title of chief petty officer.

'The Navy Is What You Make Of It'

“The Navy is what you make of it; you determine your own destiny and progression,” Deines advised today’s junior Sailors. “The Navy is not hard. It is a challenge that will turn you into someone you never thought you could be.”

Navy chiefs are subject matter experts in their fields with an ingrained desire to pass on their knowledge to the next Sailor and to the next. They advocate for the best interests of their Sailors, ensuring they have the resources they need to succeed and the opportunities to grow within the Navy. They are mentors, brethren, and trusted leaders who know when to take charge and when to step back and allow their Sailors to do their jobs.

'Chief Right And Chief Hard'

“In today’s Navy, we have seen a shift in the dynamics between the mess and the junior Sailors with many chiefs fully engaged in the day-to-day mission and the individual Sailors,” Deines explained. “You are only successful if the Sailors under your charge are successful. You cannot be afraid of challenge and responsibility, because challenge is necessary. It’s what grows you and the junior Sailors you lead. Chief right and Chief hard!”

Family: Reason To Keep Going

Family plays a big role in Deines’ life. Family was one of the influences for joining the world’s most powerful Navy. Deines’ father was a Sailor from 1965-1969 during the Vietnam War. He served on board a ship as an engineman second class petty officer prior to separating from the Navy.

For Deines, serving in the Navy was going to be a four-year commitment. What he did not realize the first time he swore in was that the Navy was going to be his life’s work.

A Lifetime Of Commitment

“The Navy has become a lifetime commitment where I have learned, grown, and experienced things I could have never imagined including getting married, having a son, and having a family to share the experience,” Deines said. “It may have been a tough road, but that road has taken me on a journey that has made me stronger, wiser, and has set me up for the rest of my life.”

By his side for a majority of his naval career has been Abby, the chief’s wife of 10 years. Together they are the proud parents of 4-year-old Jameson.

MAC Ralph Deines And Family

“My family is a small but powerful team who brings excitement, motivation, and constant support during all my adventures in the Navy,” Deines said. “Family gives me a reason to keep going, especially during the most challenging tours. I do it for them, the security knowing that when I am done, the Navy will continue to support my family.”

When he is not hard at work or mentoring Sailors – who Deines says inspires him the most – he spends time with his loved ones. When the weather is right, you can find the Deines family fishing for bass and kayaking at nearby Long Lake in Port Orchard, Wash.

Husband And Father

When asked again to describe himself, Deines this time around said without hesitation – “A husband to an amazing women and a father to the best kid any dad could ask for."

For more information, contact CNIC Public Affairs, NICHQPublicAffairs@us.navy.mil.

AZBW/WOT Editor's Note: We received permission to reprint this article from CNIC Public Affairs, and we are especially pleased to do so, as this young man's father is Navy veteran Randy ("RD") Deines, commander of Scottsdale Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 3513, Scottsdale.

 

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