Face of Defense: Hardworking Navy Chef Keeps Things Cooking
CHARLESTON, S.C. --
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Ebony Sharpe, the 628th Force Support Squadron’s leading petty officer in charge of Joint Base Charleston’s weapons station galley here, makes it a point to provide the example to her culinary team by leading from the front.
Sharpe’s day-to-day job consists of overseeing daily manning schedules, production of meals, menu planning, equipment maintenance and inventory.
Accountability, High Expectations
“The importance of my role is having accountability and [high] expectations of myself and others,” she said. “We feed over 3,000 people daily, so it’s imperative I get to see firsthand if there are any issues in any section of the kitchen to ensure our overall operations run smoothly. I love hearing positive feedback, so it motivates me to continue to stay on top of things.”
Sharpe willingly stepped into the shoes of a role meant for a rank above her when she was a petty officer second class, and has proven herself more than capable of doing the job.
“For the past two years since she took over, she has done a flawless job in the position,” said Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Corey Montgomery, 628th FSS food service officer. “Even though she was a petty officer second class, she performed as if she was a seasoned first class. She’s very reliable, and I know I can count on her.”
Learning From Adversity
Sharpe said some of the challenges she’s faced have prompted improvements in her leadership abilities and increased her expertise in the culinary career field.
“When I became the LPO, my biggest challenges were managing my peers. Since we were the same rank, it was difficult,” Sharpe said. “Also [difficult was] being the face and voice in front of senior leadership.”
She continued, “Knowing I was in the spotlight often, I made it a point to always arrive earlier than everyone and demonstrate to my peers and subordinates what I expect by setting the example myself. Once we worked out the hardship of changes and everyone was on the same page, it was actually a really good experience -- I don’t regret it at all.”
Sharpe is also a dedicated student, and she’s now in graduate school majoring in human services.
“I joined the Navy with no intention of going to school, but now I’m in graduate school and the first person in my family to get a college degree,” Sharpe said. To do better at her Navy job, Sharpe said, she needed to develop professional organization skills.
"Education was extremely important, so I made that a priority,” she explained.
Sharpe credits her success to the hard work and dedication of her team members and the advice of mentors she’s had throughout her career.
“It has been an honor to work with my team of Air Force, Navy and civilians. I couldn’t have done it without them,” Sharpe said. “They just made me a better person and sailor throughout my time at JB Charleston.”