Making a Senior Chief

Story Number: NNS020516-08Release Date: 5/16/2002 2:16:00 PM
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By Journalist 3rd Class Stephen Woolverton, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Know your Rate. Complete every task to the best of your ability. Don't let anyone tell you that you won't make it.

There is a lot of good advice to be given on getting promoted in the Navy and attaining goals, but these are the three that are heard over and over again.

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) promoted 16 shipmates to senior chief petty officer last week. While taking little credit for the jobs they do, senior chief petty officers make a valuable difference in the lives of many by guiding junior Sailors, mentoring new chiefs, managing volumes of subordinates and being a leader and role model for all their shipmates.

But what does it take to make a senior chief? These are the people that know what it takes, firsthand, to stand out above the crowd.

For instance, when Senior Chief Electrician's Mate (SW) Jeff Rivers came aboard in August 1999, he was a brand new petty officer first class. Since he has been with "Ike," he has been initiated as a chief petty officer and subsequently pinned on senior chief petty officer.

"I didn't think that I was going to make it. I had worked hard to put on chief the first time, but not too many people put on senior their first time around," said Rivers.

Because of the many requirements and limited positions in the Navy for senior chief petty officer, it is not often that Sailors get this promotion on their first try. However, many of the Ike Sailors who pinned on senior chief last week did just that. So, what did Rivers do to get advanced so quickly?

"I focused on doing my job well. Whatever billet I have held, I made sure that I did the best I could," he said.

Like Rivers, Senior Chief Master-at-Arms (SW/AW) Patrick Olli, from Ike's security division, came aboard as a petty officer first class in December 1999 and was also initiated as a chief petty officer on Ike. Now, Olli has completed what has been in his sights for a long time.

"This was a goal that I had set for myself when I was only a petty officer second class," said Olli. "It was hard, but worth it."

The pinning ceremony marked the completion of a task he had set a long time ago. What made it possible to put him out above his peers were the assignments Olli sought.

"I took the arduous duties, the sea duties. You need to stand out in these billets to make senior chief," said Olli.

For Senior Chief Ship's Serviceman (SW) Ples Hodges, pinning on senior chief was the reward for maintaining a solid work ethic and due, in part, to the support of his family.

"I worked really hard to make senior chief," said Hodges. "My family never doubted me. They just knew that I could do it."

Hodges, who was also a first-time selectee for senior chief, stayed focused on his job and his responsibilities.

"Don't let anything get in your way. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it," said Hodges.

Ultimately, it takes determination and persistence to reach this goal. And if Sailors aboard Ike have any doubt that they can make it, all they have to do is ask a senior chief.

For more information on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, go to

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