TOPEKA (KSNT) – Graduating from a small Kansas town with a population of 850, Clarence Frye never imagined he would see the world.
Serving at sea for over 30 years, his values showcase the importance of comradeship and trust when holding a leadership position.
“It was like top gun everyday, I mean non stop,” Frye said. “Ten o’clock in the morning they started getting the flight deck ready, then started launching at 11 o’clock. They would launch and recover aircraft until 2 in the morning.”
Originally, Clarence only intended to serve six years in the Navy, but the structure and, more importantly, the people he worked with kept him around for much longer.
“We did something together that a lot of people don’t do, most people don’t do,” Frye said. “They don’t go into war zones and they don’t deploy for six months at a time. Put up with the heat of the Persian gulf or the freezing cold of the north Atlantic.”
Serving as Command Master Chief for the last 12 years of his service, Frye worked closely with thousands of crew members.
“Your duty is really to take care of the crew,” Frye said. “Listen to the crew, make recommendations to the skipper about what to do, you know things to do. Often it was the moral and welfare of the crew.”
With an open door policy, he valued being a sounding board amongst his crew mates. Working towards a solution together, or just being someone to talk to.
“That may be part of why I gravitate towards being command master chief, because there were those sailors that maybe didn’t have a voice, or didn’t have somebody to voice that to,” Frye said.
Having a positive relationship built on trust, meant everything to Clarence.
“A navy ship is just metal,” Frye said. “It won’t do a thing unless there’s people to make it do what it has to do. To get it under way, to do flight ops, to do all those things it takes people. If you don’t rely on those people, if you don’t have confidence that those people will do their job, that ship will sit there and rust at the pier. It’ll never get underway, it’ll never do what it has to do without people. They’re the most valuable asset the navy has, and you got to take care of them.”