From left, Chief Hospital Corpsman Mo Sambe, Chief Electronic Technician Tamika Williams, Chief Legalman Abe Tarr, Chief Personnel Specialist Lori Files, Chief Yeoman Rick Riley and Chief Cryptologic Technician (Networks) Cami Rohr gather at the new chiefs' mess (goat locker) Aug. 29 at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. (Colin Kelly / Staff)
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There are plenty of chief petty officers stationed in Naval District Washington — but where is the goat locker?
You won’t find one at the Pentagon or even the Navy Yard. These chiefscould find respite in the mess at Joint Base Andrews, Md., but who wants to trek out there?
Until recently, when it came time to meet, these D.C.-based chiefs were forced to temporarily commandeer a conference room. But not anymore.
Thanks to the efforts of the Naval District Washington Chief Petty Officers Association, a dedicated goat locker is up and running at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.
“This area is unique in that we have a whole lot of chiefs spread out from Virginia up to Baltimore, Md., or farther, and we do find the opportunity to come together,” said Chief Personnel Specialist (SW/AW) Lori Files, the group’s treasurer. “So when we do come together, we need to have a place to go. When you’re on the ship, where do you go to talk? They go to the chiefs’ mess.”
The association decided two years ago it would take the lead in getting a D.C. goat locker for area commands. Their efforts are now being put to good use following a July 31 ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens.
The goat locker has gleaming floors, two refrigerators stocked with water and soft drinks, several tables where chiefs can meet or catch up on paperwork, plus a couch and TV for anyone who needs to unwind.
Perhaps the best part? Chiefs only, with limited exceptions.
While any chief, senior chief or master chief petty officer, retired or active duty, is welcome to stop by the NDW goat locker, all nonchiefs must have an escort. Some events will be restricted to members only.
“Traditionally when chiefs of other locations like the Pentagon or Bethesda come to visit, we just have meetings in any conference room that you can get ahold of,” Chief Yeoman (SS) Rick Riley, the chapter president, told Navy Times. “We just got tired of bouncing around, so we found an empty space in one of the buildings where one of our chiefs was working.”
While a chiefs’ mess is standard on a ship, goat lockers are harder to come by on shore duty, and limited space in the Washington area added to the problem, Riley said.
“Now that we’ve established the goat locker, we have a lot of people that have a lot more interest now, because they do have a place to go,” Files said. “They can own a part of it, if you will.”
Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW) Mo Sambe had noticed an empty room in Building 351 at Anacostia nearly two years ago. With the CPOA’s go-ahead, he got together the paperwork to put in a formal request to the base commander to turn it into a chiefs’ mess.
A few months later, they had a meeting with the base commander, Navy Capt. Anthony Calandra.
“He was very familiar with the process, very familiar with chiefs and how we like to come together and try to plan out things for the Navy and our sailors,” Riley said.
Once the request was granted, the group got to work ripping out floors, knocking down walls and sprucing up the former recruiting office. The furnishings were donated, and the labor volunteered in the chiefs’ free time, but the group has spent around $5,000 from fundraising and CPOA dues on equipment costs and hardwood flooring.
“If it’s 8 p.m., and you want to get some homework done, watch TV, catch up on news, you can come by,” Riley said. “If Mo and I want to have a meeting, there’s no reason why we have to go to a restaurant — we can come here. This is our home.”
The group is looking into a coded lock for the door — rather than make endless copies of keys, they can pass the code along to any chiefs in the area who might want to stop by.
“We don’t just want it to be an NDW goat locker. It’s a Navy goat locker for any chiefs that are in the area,” Files said. “If he or she is here [on temporary additional duty], that they have a place they can come.”
There are plans to paint a Navy- and D.C.-themed mural, add memorabilia, and turn a side room into a full bar.
“Our ultimate goal is to make it look more homey, if you will, but with a whole lot of chiefs’ pride,” Files said.
The goat locker is funded by monthly $10 CPOA dues, plus donations. For more information on joining or contributing to the Naval District Washington Chief Petty Officers Association, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.