By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Connor D. Loessin
HAMPTON, VA.—Fifty-seven Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) chief petty officers were pinned to their new rank, Sept. 16.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Steven S. Giordano, guest speaker for the ceremony, reaffirmed the importance of this milestone.
“I would like to congratulate all of our newest chief petty officers across the Navy and all their family members,” said MCPON, who offered the following advice to newly promoted chief petty officers. “Be leaders. Continue to develop our Sailors, take care of our Sailors, and take care of their families. Educate them the right way so that they can make smart choices, so that they can be successful in life… If we can build that, our Navy is going to be extremely effective and continue to be the great Navy it is today.”
During the pinning ceremony, the new chiefs had their new rank insignia pinned to their collars by their friends and family. The insignia is a fouled anchor, symbolizing the trials and tribulations that every chief endures on a daily basis. Attached to the anchor is a length of chain and the letters U.S.N. The “U” stands for unity, the “S” stands for service, and the “N” stands for navigation. The chain is symbolic of flexibility. The anchor itself embodies the hope and glory of chief petty officers.
“I’m overwhelmed with happiness,” said Chief Information Systems Technician Gregory Charles, after being pinned. “I love it, I love it, I love it. I thank God and I appreciate everybody, all the shipmates, the Chief’s Mess. I’m truly grateful to be here.”
The ceremony was the conclusion to Phase Two of the CPO 365 program, which is a year-round training and development course for first class petty officers to become chief petty officers.
“Phase Two is a six-week process dedicated to honing leadership skills for the new chiefs who are our reliefs,” said Senior Chief Operations Specialist Michael Bengtson, Ford’s Phase Two lead. “It focuses on accountability, decisive decision making, and teamwork.”
At the end of the training process, the Sailors are ready to lead.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the 57 new chiefs who joined our mess today,” said Ford’s Command Master Chief Donnie Novak. “They are trained, motivated, and eager to assume their new responsibilities. They are an impressive addition to an already strong Navy-wide Chiefs’ Mess.”