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NEWS | Dec. 30, 2008

SNCO held in high esteem by Navy peers

By Thomas Warner 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

A 21-year Air Force career has created numerous leadership and training opportunities for one Randolph senior NCO,  but a recent experience was among his most rewarding. 

Senior Master Sgt. Renwick Davis was of only four Airmen in a group of 120 students at the Navy's Senior Enlisted Academy, Davis was presented the Peter Tomich Senior Leadership Award after excelling in classroom testing, in-depth interaction and multiple leadership measurement capacities. 

Sergeant Davis, superintendent, 12th Flying Training Wing staff agencies contact, was one of a handful of Airmen who completed a session at the SEA, in Newport, R.I. 

At the six-week academy, he shared knowledge and leadership strategy with the same chief petty officers who Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said "run the Navy." 

"It's an eye-opener for the Air Force students who come here to see how a sister service operates," said Senior Master Sgt. David Poulin, an instructor and Air Force liaison on the Rhode Island SEA campus. 

The academy is driven by Navy personnel participation, but routinely draws students from other nations and other U.S. military service branches. In the past year, military members from Turkey, Croatia, Germany and Lithuania have spent time at Newport. 

"Although they wear the khaki colors, the time I spent there renewed my blue," Sergeant Davis said. "You learn a lot about Navy history and Navy traditions but you also get a lot of things from the Senior Enlisted Academy that can serve you well in any environment. It's things that can help anyone in any walk of life to be a better leader." 

Sergeant Davis completed the assignment at Newport to further a military career he says was spawned during high school in Memphis, Tenn. 

"I was in the Jr. ROTC program in high school and always knew I wanted to be a part of the Air Force," Sergeant Davis said. "Every assignment, every stop, every mission has bettered me and I wouldn't trade any of what I've gained from wearing the blue." 

SEA students underwent rigorous physical training most mornings and for the most part represented the top three levels of senior non-commissioned Navy officers. Later, guest speakers and classroom instruction allowed for a constant weaning of knowledge that was enhanced by actual interaction. 

"The instructors are there to facilitate, but you gain the most from time spent with other shipmates," Sergeant Davis said. "You see a network develop and there is communication coming from all angles. 

"Just learning about what the Navy calls its 'Chiefs Mess' was inspirational. That's their life. That's the development of their non-commissioned leadership. To see how emotional they get about it and what it represents is really positive," he said. 

The Tomich Award was significant because it was voted on by the students themselves.
"Your peers consider you a leader among leaders," said Sergeant Poulin. 

The award is named after a sailor who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism shown at Pearl Harbor during World War II. Chief Watertender Peter Tomich was killed Dec. 7, 1941, after his ship, the "Utah," had been hit by a Japanese torpedo. 

Once Sergeant Davis was put up for the award, he went before a review board and answered questions on if and why he felt he deserved such recognition. 

"It really took me aback and I was appreciative that they had that kind of idea about who I was or what I stood for," said Sergeant Davis, who also was a class Honor Graduate and received an honorary Senior Chief Petty Officer designation from SEA officials. 

"I go to these types of schools in hopes of learning a lot and picking up knowledge," Sergeant Davis said. "There is a certain group dynamic. The interaction is something that can help you become a better leader and a better supervisor. The more you know, the better equipped you are to lead."

Individuals wishing to attend the Senior Enlisted Academy or needing information can contact Sergeant Poulin at or by calling 401-841-4947 and DSN 948-4947.