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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Navy Hails Cosby as Honorary Chief

By Navy Chief Petty Officer Sonya Ansarov
Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2011 – Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West recognized actor, comedian and former sailor Bill Cosby as an honorary chief petty officer in a ceremony yesterday at the U.S. Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center.

“Bill Cosby is not just a comedian and an actor — although he’s pretty good at both — he’s also been a tireless advocate for social responsibility and education and a constant friend to the Navy,” Mabus said. “Last year was the highest compliment I’ve ever received –- being made an honorary chief petty officer, and now Dr. Cosby –- you’re about to get the same honor.”

Cosby holds a doctor of education degree from the University of Massachusetts.

Mabus and West placed chief petty officer anchors on Cosby in front of a huge gathering of chief petty officers and other sailors. West helped Cosby don a chief hospital corpsman’s service dress blue jacket, and Mabus presented Cosby with the accompanying visored hat.

“I will tell to you like I tell all of our new chiefs … when I pin these anchors on you, your job isn’t over and your journey is just beginning,” West said to Cosby. “There is no greater honor than having earned the title “Chief” — and the responsibility to our sailors and our Navy that comes with it — and we will expect more of you.”

Cosby expressed his gratitude for the honor and for the lessons he learned in his Navy service.

“[Over] the years I spent in the Navy, and so many moments remembering that, the Navy gave me a wake-up call. The Navy showed me obedience, and that’s the thing that pushed me to realize the mistakes I had made in my young life at 19 years old, and that I could do something with myself and become somebody.”

Cosby began his relationship with the Navy in 1956, when he joined as a hospital corpsman and attended recruit training at Naval Training Center Bainbridge, Md.

During his four-year tour, Cosby was stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.; the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.; Naval Hospital Argentia, Newfoundland; aboard USS Fort Mandan; and Philadelphia Naval Hospital.

At Quantico and Bethesda, Cosby worked in physical therapy, helping to rehabilitate Korean War veterans, a duty he said he liked and excelled at. He was also an athlete for the Navy, playing football, basketball, baseball, and running track and field.

Cosby said the Navy transformed him from an aimless, uneducated kid into a man with drive, discipline and self-respect.

He was honorably discharged in 1960 as a petty officer 3rd class. His awards included Navy Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal. He also received the 2010 Lone Sailor Award from the U.S. Navy Memorial.


10 Responses to “Navy Hails Cosby as Honorary Chief”
  1. Mslyn21 says:

    Didn’t he get kicked out for gundecking vital signs on a patient and the patient died? How did that warrant an Honorable Discharge let along becoming an “Honorary Chief”?? I mean really??

  2. Da_Chief says:

    Your sorely mis informed.. Look up your history.. nn

  3. PJ says:

    Thats what corp school has been teaching all the corpsman as they come in that Bill Cosby gundecked so he was only misinformed by his own kind

  4. Da_Chief says:

    PJ really? I have an instructor who helps me out here?? Really? Also btw I was an instructor at NHCS, and I can say for a FACT, that we never pass this info.. so I’m sorry YOU TO, are mis-informed. nnI don’t know why it is so damn hard for people to look up facts before they spout drivel?

  5. HM2 THE TANK says:

    I was in corps school not too long ago, and heard the same information, however there is no official documentation supporting this.

  6. DLEE says:

    I too was told that he was kicked out for gun decking while I was at NHCS by instructors.

  7. ELS says:

    I was told the same thing when I went through corps school. This is not something I could just make up. Because I would never really care to make it up. lol. So lets not say you know for a fact they don’t pass this at corps school. Because I really highly doubt that all these different people who went through corps school at different times, where just sitting around and said to themselves ” I think I’m going to tell a lie today, and that lie is that in corps school my instructors told me Bill Cosby was a corpsman that got kicked out for gundecking vital signs”. REALLY. HAHA.

  8. Shanon says:

    Just came across this article and I was a corpsman. I went to corps school in Great Lakes and they did play a recording of Bill Cosby where he talked about gundecking vital signs. So the instructors did not pass it along, all they did was let us know that Bill Cosby was a corpsman. And we all know faking vital signs is not right. He was in during a different time. My recollection of the recording was that he said he took vital signs and come to find out the patient was already dead. He would have known to tell someone this had he actually took the vital signs. He did not contribute to her death as far as I understood it. The patient had been dead for quite some time prior to him ever needing to do the vital signs.

  9. Bea says:

    LOL as someone who has gone through Corps School myself, I will tell you that YES the staff does tell the new Corpsman that Bill got booted for giving a dead person a 120/80 blood pressure reading.

  10. Bea says:

    Oh and I went through Corps School in 2003. 😀