Kurt Kelpe honored by Goodfellow Navy

  • Published
  • By Senior Chief Petty Officer Micah T. Epley
  • Center for Information Warfare Training Detachment, Goodfellow

The Navy Center for Information Warfare Training Detachment, Goodfellow Chief’s Mess dedicated their “Goat Locker” in remembrance of a fallen chief during the 125th Chief Petty Officer birthday commemoration ceremony held on Goodfellow Air Force Base, March 30.

Chief Petty Officer Kurt Kelpe passed away, Feb. 14, 2018.  He
enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and served aboard the USS Cowpens (CVL 25) in Tokyo Bay while the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was being signed onboard the USS Missouri (BB 63). He went on to serve in the Korean conflict and in the Pacific theatre during the Vietnam War.   

After retiring from the Navy, Kelpe managed several jewelry stores in Oklahoma, Florida, and Texas.  He eventually settled in San Angelo and became actively involved in chief functions and command ceremonies. 

With this dedication, the official name of the Goat Locker is now the Kurt Kelpe Chief’s Mess.  Additionally, a Navy pocket watch he donated to the Chief’s Mess is now enshrined in a shadow box and displayed in the Mess.

Master Chief Petty Officer Joseph D. Reynolds, the Detachment’s senior enlisted leader, said “It is an honor for this mess to have known Chief Kelpe; he dedicated years providing sage guidance to officers and enlisted alike, and Kurt never stopped being ‘The Chief’. His impacts here on the deckplates had an immeasurable impact on Sailors in San Angelo, and we are honored to dedicate the mess to his memory.”

"I think it's fitting to have a CPO mess named after Chief Kelpe," said Chief Petty Officer Meagen Croft. "It is inspiring to know that all future chief petty officers who enter the hallowed halls of the Chief’s Mess will know the legacy of Chief Kelpe.”