About the author
Command Master Chief Leon R. Walker Jr hails from Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up in the inner city of Cleveland and East Cleveland where he struggled with numerous setbacks, downfalls, learning disabilities, addictions, lack of confidence, low self esteem, losing his home, and his parents divorce. Leon, through his trials and tribulations, became self sufficient, driven, focused and wanted something out of life, so by the age of 13, he worked several jobs to take care of himself and help his family. Leon ultimately graduated from Shaw High school in 1983 from a class of 466 students, however, of those 466 students, Leon was the only to take the military entrance exam (ASVAB) 5 times, he was also the only one to fail it, four times. He eventually passed the military entrance exam on his fifth try, by 1 point. He scored a 31(the minimum) out of (a maximum) of 99. That 1 point would change his life, forever. Leon attended boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes (then Naval Training Center) in November 1983. He attended Seaman ATD (now Boatswain's Mate "A" School) from January 14,1984 until March 14, 1984.
Upon completion of Seaman Apprentice training School, he reported aboard USS Reid (FFG 30) stationed in Long Beach, California in March 1984. The ship then changed homeport to San Diego.
Master Chief Walker spent two years in deck division and became a Quartermaster (Ship Navigator) in 1985, without any formal schooling. He was promoted to E-4 and E-5 onboard USS Reid and completed numerous tours to the Persian Gulf.
In May 1987, while patrolling in the Persian Gulf, his ship was called to assist the USS Stark where his firefighting team fought fires then recovered and transferred 37 deceased Sailors that perished in the explosion from two missile attacks fired from an Iraqi aircraft, in the Persian Gulf.
In December 1987, Master Chief Walker was discharged from the Navy, and returned to Cleveland, Ohio where, after 72 days, he returned to the Navy.
In March 1988, Master Chief Walker reported aboard USS Mahlon S. Tisdale (FFG 27). In 1989, he was selected as Sailor of the Quarter, and Sailor of the Year, ranked #1 of over 80 other candidates. He spent four years onboard and was promoted Quartermaster First class (E-6) in December 1991.
In June 1992, Master Chief Walker reported to Navy Recruiting District Cleveland, Ohio, and in 1994 he was selected as Recruiter of the Quarter, and Recruiter of the Year, again, ranked #1 over 144 other candidates. After his four-year tour in Cleveland, Ohio, Master Chief Walker reported aboard USS Carr (FFG-52) in 1996. Master Chief Walker spent four years onboard and was selected as USS CARR Sailor of the Quarter, and Sailor of the Year. In addition, he was selected as DESTROYER SQUADRON 2 Sailor of the Year, Regional Support Group Sailor of the Year, and then, COMMANDER NAVAL SURACE FORCES ATLANTIC Sea Sailor of the Year where he was ranked #1 of 25,000 eligible Sailors. He was ATLANTIC FLEET SEA Sailor of the Year finalist in 2000, finishing #2 of over 100,000 other Sailors.
Upon completion of that tour, Master Chief Walker reported to Quartermaster/Signalman "A" school in Great Lakes as an Instructor. In 2000, he was selected for Chief. In 2001, Master Chief Walker became the Leading Chief Petty Officer of Seaman Apprentice Training and Signalman "A" school. He Led 18 Instructors, that trained over 10,000 newly reported Sailors.
In April 2003, Master Chief Walker was selected for Senior Chief Petty Officer, that year, there was only 7 selected Navy-wide, out of 149 eligible candidates. Master chief Walker then reported to USS Kearsarge (LHD-3). In March 2004, Master Chief Walker attended the Air Force Senior enlisted Academy, and was selected as the Vice President of over 400 Senior Enlisted Academy students. Upon completion of the 7 week course, he reported back to USS Kearsarge and served three years there. He was ranked #1 of 21 Senior Chief Petty Officers.
He was then selected for Master Chief in April 2006. That year, the Navy only promoted 2 Senior Chiefs out of 19 to Master Chief, Master Chief Walker was one of those selected. In October 2006, Master Chief Walker was selected to become a Recruit Division Commander (RDC/Drill Sergeant). He was selected to the Command Master Chief program in February of 2007, completed RDC school in April of 2007, where he led two divisions of recruits, comprised of 176 newly reported civilians, and in September 2007 he accepted orders to USS Lassen DDG-82 homeported in Yokosuka, Japan where he led a crew of 300 Sailors.
Master Chief Walker served for two years onboard USS Lassen, and then reported as the Command Master Chief of Naval Station Great Lakes where they employed 10,000 Sailors and civilians. In 2010, Master Chief Walker, and his fellow Sailors started mentorship program at a local elementary school for various 5th graders, teaching them numerous life skills. In November of 2011, Master Chief Walker was informed that he was a match for an African American woman suffering from a form of cancer. In January of 2012, Master Chief Walker was transferred to the local hospital in Washington DC, where he underwent a very painful, but extremely rewarding stem cell procedure, where the Doctors transferred 700 million stem cells from his body over a period of 6 days and into the body of the woman he was a match for. Upon completion of his tour at Naval Station Great Lakes, he was selected as the Command Master Chief of Naval Service Training Command where they employed 42,203 Sailors and civilians. Master Chief Walker retired on August 7th of 2015, and in January of 2016, he was hired at the Chicago Military Entrance Processing Station where he managed 4 civilians and 4 Sailors processing 80-90 Sailors per month into the Navy. In July of 2016, now retired Master Chief Walker was selected as Civilian of the Quarter of over 80 other civilians, and In September of 2016, retired Master Chief Walker was hired as a Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (military Instructor) NJROTC, where he was responsible for teaching, leading, mentoring, and grooming 120 high school juniors.
His awards include the Meritorius Service Medal (2) Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4), Navy Achievement Medal (2) and numerous other awards.