by Brian Lamar, U.S. Navy Public Affairs
Countless movies, books and other entertainment media highlight the concept of Destiny. In most of these sensational stories, destiny is revered as a supernatural force that calls the shots on a person’s journey through life. True heroes of the stories are the ones who forge their own way with a determination of a speeding locomotive.
In the case of Master Chief Sacha Hasbrouck, she was born knowing her path, and even when life had other plans, she kept chugging toward her goals.
Hasbrouck, who just capped off her 17th year in the Navy as a culinary specialist by pinning on her new Master Chief rank, is known for her candor, sense of humor, determined leadership and amazing cookies.
Some would say that the newly minted master chief never stood a chance of not making it this far as she was literally born into the Navy (3rd generation Sailor following in her grandfather and father’s bootsteps) in the Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia. Although she calls Panama City, Florida home, she was raised on multiple Naval installations as a child.
Everything had seemed to be gearing her up toward her inevitable service to her country as she walked into the Navy recruiter’s office at 18.
“I went in and decided not to join. It was a good thing for me to wait. I wasn’t ready. I did odd jobs and retail until I was 23. I was in a shop selling swimsuits and it dawned on me one day that I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing. I called the recruiter and started my career,” said Hasbrouck.
Hasbrouck had been exposed to the Explosive Ordnance trades and planned to join that corps, but due to a mixture of lacking testing scores and sign-on bonuses for other careers, Hasbrouck signed on as a Culinary Specialist. This unexpected path led to a diversity of experiences where Hasbrouck has been able to make a significant impact on the Navy.
“Throughout my career. I have had very rewarding experiences, as well as challenging ones. My most rewarding tour was as an instructor at Fort Lee in the Culinary Specialist “A” school. I enjoyed seeing the Sailors who were fresh and excited about their new careers, and it gave me motivation to see their ‘Aha!’ moments when they learned new things,” she said.
Hasbrouck, who has been accused of being a very positive and outgoing professional who isn’t afraid of hard work, loves to highlight her best memories in the Navy. For example, her favorite tour was a ship tour on the USS Halsey.
“We had a crazy schedule with back-to-back deployments, but the crew was tight and we worked well together,” she recalled fondly.
Although Hasbrouck tends to focus on the positive experiences she has had, there have been challenges along the way.
“My most challenging tour was being on the USS Fitzgerald after the collision. We had two straight years of constant inspections on top of everything else we had to do followed by COVID. Although it was rough, I appreciated the tour. I learned a lot about leadership and management on that ship. It was a challenging tour as a department chief and the only chief in my division. I was balancing our arduous schedule with trying to make sure my sailors received time off for personal reasons and making sure they are all progressing professionally as well,” she said. One of her favorite things about her tough times on the Fitzgerald was celebrating the milestones and putting her Sailors up for promotions and awards like Sailor of the Year, which was very rewarding for me, she said.
Looking back on the lessons she has learned, Hasbrouck credits several people with her overall success.
“Along my way, I was blessed to have served with Senior Chief Gordillo when I was a 2nd class and thinking about getting out. He saw something in me and took me under his wing and molded me. That guidance he showed me got me more career-oriented. He definitely has had the biggest impact on my career. I also had a chief set me up with orders to teach at the CS “A” school, which gave me a wealth of knowledge in leadership. My advice to others is to be a leader who is engaged all the time. I have served under leaders that only come to talk to you when you are messing up. Letting your Sailors know when they are doing a good job goes a long way,” said Hasbrouck.
When Hasbrouck isn’t working daily to keep the world around her better than she found it, she can be found baking or riding her bike. She is looking forward to having her daughter come live with her.
Her daughter has been living with her dad since 2016 due to Hasbrouck’s back-to-back ship tours. She plans on using the time she has in Gulfport onshore for spending as much time with her daughter on adventures and checking out South Mississippi.
“I am getting close to 20 years. I was planning to retire here, but now that I have made master chief and I have to do three years in this rank for my “high three” retirement, I am not sure what will happen. I love it here and I don’t want to leave, but the Navy may have other plans for me,” she said.
Hasbrouck says that getting selected for promotion was a surprise and a shock. She would like to go to another training where she feels that she can make the widest impact.
Once she is done with her career, she plans to go back to culinary school for baking.
Her goal is to leave the service behind and start her own bakery.
“I want to retire doing something else that I love. I want to go back to school to learn more of the science and business end behind opening a bakery,” she said.