ATC Richard W. Wells


cpoa_wellsIt is certainly hard to write about yourself, because you know too much. However, I have been asked to provide a little history which will be used to fill a page in the Chief. I don’t want to go into too much history because my friends will then find out how old I really am.

I went through the normal progression from SR to ATC with only a few glitches. For example, while on a trip out of Barbers Point, when I was an AL2 and on the AL1 list, I became an AT. That was a surprise. I thought I would be better qualified to be an AK, but my department head didn’t. Fortunately, it only took me nine years after that to make chief. I finally made it in 1974, which started me in CPOA.

I was initiated by the Washington, DC Chapter, with another past president, David Orolfo, presiding. Most of the attendees didn’t understand airdales, so the gags had to be customized. I went through with a JOC and a PHC who had it made (to a point). At least they were stationed at Headquarters with other general service types. Nevertheless, I survived, eventually to arrive on the political scene in CPOA.

Upon becoming stationed in Houston, I went to a CPOA meeting at the (then) Galveston/Houston Chapter. I only made one mistake. I volunteered to fill a spot on the ballot, thinking it would be secretary or treasurer. I got a call in January of 1975 from ETCS Jimmy Gunn, a cohort of ETC Paul Goeke (retired), who asked me to run for president. I won by one vote! I did two years in that position, unifying the Chiefs, and making the Chapter some operating funds. Then I decided to make a move to bigger and better things.

In 1978, I ran for National Vice-president, and won by a wide margin of 13 votes. At this time, I became known as “Landslide Wells.” Undaunted by this overwhelming popularity, I ran for President the following year against BMCM John DeLuca, and lost my creditability as a landslider.

Things were not to end.’ I became National Secretary for two terms (at that time, a term was one year). Seeking to reinforce my obvious popularity, I ran for National Vice-president again, and won by 24 votes. (Whoopee!) The following year, I was reelected but due to a political conflict, could not serve. In 1985, I decided to go for the wire, and was elected National President. One of the bright spots in this was the installing officer was the same one who led me into CPOA politics in the first place, ETC Paul Goeke. Thanks to a By-laws change, which made the term of a National Officer two years, I was reelected and remained the CPOA President for three years.

In all, I have been a delegate, alternate, or National Officer at 22 consecutive conventions. I have, for CPOA, met with five Commandants, seen a new National Office bought, watched our organization mature with Chiefs more knowledgeable, more technically qualified, and ready to take on our increasingly cybernetic world. While I have this space, I would congratulate all the knowledge, wisdom and maturity shown by today’s chiefs, and urge them to keep up the “deep thinking” that will keep the CG afloat.

In 1995, ATC Wells, CG (retired), was nominated for and became the TWELFTH GOLD LIFETIME MEMBER of the NATIONAL CPOA.