Sailor Battling Cancer Dons Chiefs Anchors


Story Number: NNS080520-23Release Date: 5/20/2008 3:08:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael A. Lantron, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

HONOLULU (NNS) -- During a ceremony May 15 at Tripler Army Medical Center, in Honolulu, a Sailor was appointed as an honorary chief by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SW/FMF) Joe R. Campa Jr.

Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW/SW) David Eberhart wearing sharply-creased khakis for the first time, was wheeled through the hospital doors. Clinging to his wheelchair, a dream 15 years in the making, was now a reality. Anchored by his new family of brothers and sisters, Eberhart rose to his feet.

Throughout his career, Eberhart has continued to exemplify the Navy's Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. As a testament to his "never give up" attitude, Eberhart's blurred dreams of becoming "the chief," quickly came into focus despite a nearly six-year bout with cancer.

"He's ready to be a chief, run a division and mentor Sailors. He stands for our core values of honor, courage and commitment in everything he does. Chief Eberhart is the epitome of what we expect from a chief petty officer," said U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief (SW/AW)) Tom Howard.

"I've been dreaming about this moment since I was a third class petty officer and I finally did it," said Eberhart. "Now that I'm here, I'm going to be a strong representative of the chiefs mess and keep going on all the way to MCPON."

Granted the full honors incumbent to an honorary chief, Eberhart, who is currently assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 (MALS-24) at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, will carefully and diligently perform the duties as "the chief" as he continues his service on active duty while battling cancer.

Following the reading of a citation from Campa, Eberhart's wife and mother stepped forward and pinned the newly appointed honorary chief's anchors.

"David has worked so hard for this," said his wife. "It's amazing to see the Navy do this for him I am so happy for him."

Eberhart's anchors, once worn by Howard, a cancer survivor himself, symbolize the true fighting spirit of the Navy and chief petty officers alike.

"Words can't express the feelings I had to see my anchors pinned on Chief Eberhart," said Howard. "That's why we pass anchors down. MCPON presented him those anchors and it was a privilege seeing them pinned on his collar."

Chief Culinary Specialist (SS) Benjamin Jones, also assigned to MALS-24, then placed the combination cover smartly onto Eberhart's head, completing the transition to an honorary chief.

Following the ceremony, Eberhart received a personal phone call from the MCPON who congratulated him on his monumental achievement.

"It is my privilege to welcome you to the chiefs mess. You have exemplified the guiding principles of a chief petty officer. Your courage and commitment to our Sailors and our Navy has inspired all of us," said Campa.

"Having the MCPON call me and tell me I'm a chief petty officer in the Navy is amazing and is something I will never forget," said Eberhart.

Although becoming an honorary chief completed a 15-year chapter in Eberhart's service to his country and his Navy, he is not quitting, he is instead rallying for his next chapter of service as "the chief."

For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.

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RELATED PHOTOS
Honorary Chief Aviation Ordnanceman David Eberhart, assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 24 at Marine Corps Base, Hawaii, receives his chief petty officer anchors.
080515-N-9758L-030 HONOLULU, Hawaii (May 15, 2008) Honorary Chief Aviation Ordnanceman David Eberhart, assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 24 at Marine Corps Base, Hawaii, receives his chief petty officer anchors from his wife, left, and mother during a ceremony at Tripler Army Medical Center in which Eberhart was appointed an honorary chief petty officer by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Joe R. Campa Jr. Eberhart, 35, was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer on Sept. 2, 2002 and has continued to serve on active duty in his attempt to become a chief petty officer while fighting the disease. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael A. Lantron (Released)
May 19, 2008
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