U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (NNS) -- The amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) welcomed five newly frocked chief petty officers (CPO) into the Chiefs Mess during a pinning ceremony held on the ship's flight deck, Sept. 16.
The ceremony followed a six-week training period known as CPO 365 Phase II, which began immediately following the announcement of the CPO advancement results August 3. During Phase II, the mess introduced the chief selectees to challenges designed to strengthen their leadership skills and to provide a better understanding of what it means to be a Navy chief.
During the ceremony, Master Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/AW) Edinito Purog emphasized the unique role a Navy chief holds while standing amidst his fellow khaki.
"The rank of chief petty officer is the most coveted of enlisted ranks, and it is the epitome of leadership in our Navy," said Purog, who served as the master of ceremonies during the ceremony. "For 124 years, junior Sailors have looked up to and have strived to reach the rank of chief petty officer. For these five sailors before you, this marks the culmination of achievements in their careers."
Serving as the guest speaker, Cmdr. Theodore Essenfield, Pearl Harbor commanding officer, stressed the importance of the position CPO holds due to the rank's unique position in molding both enlisted Sailors and junior officers.
"My early career was almost entirely influenced by chief petty officers," said Essenfield, who initially enlisted into the Navy as a seaman recruit. "They were the deck plate leaders with whom I worked every day. They showed me the right way to do a job once and then watched over me as I developed the skills to do it on my own."
Speaking directly to the new chiefs, Essenfield continued by issuing a challenge for them to maintain.
"Your leadership and technical expertise set the example for others to emulate; congratulations on your promotion, you've earned it," said Essenfield. "I challenge you to live by the Chief Petty Officer Creed, and to keep faith with the image of the chief petty officer as I know it - a compassionate, dedicated, technically competent professional leader, because I know that's what you already are."
After pinning on their anchors, donning a combination cover, and getting piped aboard as a chief petty officer, the Pearl Harbor chiefs mess accepted the new chiefs with open arms.
"Today we introduce and welcome five new members into our Chiefs Mess, not just the Chiefs Mess aboard USS Pearl Harbor, but to the fraternity that makes up our senior enlisted force across the globe," said Purog.
Pearl Harbor is part of the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and, with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is in to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.
The ARG and 15th MEU provide senior U.S. military leadership and partners with a flexible force which can rapidly respond to contingencies and crises within a region. With ships, aircraft, troops, and logistical equipment, the ARG/MEU is a self-contained and self-sustained task force capable of conducting a wide range of military operations including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
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