Dr. Vince Patton served as the Eighth Master Chief Petty Officer (a combination of a rank and a position) of the Coast Guard for more than 30 years until his retirement in 2002.
As the service’s top senior-ranking enlisted leader and ombudsman during that period, Master Chief Patton was the principal advisor to the Commandant of the Coast Guard, his directorates, and the secretaries of Transportation and Defense. Dr. Patton’s primary focuses were on quality of life, career development, work environment, and personnel matters, which affected over 45,000 active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel service-wide.
Dr. Patton received his Doctor of Education from the American University, Washington; a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University, Chicago; a Master of Theology from Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley; and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Pacific College, Angwin.
Dr. Patton set his eyes on becoming the Coast Guard’s Master Chief Petty Officer after two weeks in boot camp in Cape May, New Jersey. He drew strength and inspiration from Pelé’s words, the legendary soccer player, who said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, but most of all, love of what you’re doing or learning to do.”
In 1976, during his journey climbing the ranks, Dr. Patton took a Dale Carnegie class that helped him improve his confidence, communicate better, and discover his core values and vision. He is delighted that Dale Carnegie became a stepping stone to leadership and is still ongoing today. And he now understands what a good foundation this program is in helping individuals in their leadership journey & developing their personal philosophies.
Dr. Patton had a communication problem and overcame his stuttering by singing the Star-Spangled Banner every day. That gave him renewed confidence to sing out loud, to read articles and books out loud, and helped him become an influential leader in the U.S. Coast Guard.
When Dr. Patton finally reached his goal of becoming a Chief Petty Officer, he realized his job was a privilege and served multiple purposes. The best way to describe it is that he was a cheerleader, a consultant, an advisor, and a chaplain, and heard all kinds of things from people in terms of what’s needed in the service.
The experience also helped Dr. Patton develop his core values centered on people, passion, and performance. Our capabilities and ability to handle responsibilities start with our core values. We are where we are today because we stood on somebody’s shoulders. And wherever we are heading, we need to give back.
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Listen to leadership and communication insights from Doug Escher, President of Dale Carnegie Rochester, NY, Boston, MA, and Buffalo, NY.