BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) commanding officer (CO), recieved an award bestowed upon few naval officers, June 3.
In front of active duty, retired and Navy Reserve chiefs, senior chiefs, and master chiefs assembled in her command's chiefs mess, Capt. Catherine A. Wilson was presented with a certificate of appointment from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Joe R. Campa Jr., as an honorary master chief petty officer.
"This is, without a doubt, the most cherished moment of my 30-year career," said a visibly touched Wilson. "I am humbled, honored, and proud to be accepted into the best and most select fraternity in our armed forces."
Naval Hospital Bremerton Command Master Chief (SW/AW) K. Sean Crane was the prime architect behind the ceremonial award presentation. She began the process months earlier, compiling endorsements and ratifying the endorsement. As an additional personal touch, Crane also asked the mess to contribute individual input as to why each thought their commanding officer should become an 'honorary chief.'
"The responses I received were overwhelming and really a validation of all Capt. Wilson has done," explained Crane.
The compiled input was then read out loud before the pinning portion of the ceremony.
"I have never worked with a harder working chief than Capt. Wilson, who always gives more than what she asks for," commented retired Chief Hospital Corpsman Dora Herman.
"Capt. Wilson has an uncommon understanding of what it means to be a chief petty officer in the United States Navy," said Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/FMF) Casey Pruett.
"Her understanding and faith in the mess has raised the bar of expectation, not only by her but by us as individuals. The concern she shows for Sailors is that of a seasoned CPO [chief petty officer]."
Wilson's father served as chief boatswain's mate on USS Bear, one of the most famous polar exploration ships of all time, and last of the Navy's masted vessels.
According to Crane, Wilson's tenure as NHB CO has been one of continuous support of the CPO mess.
"Her respect for the chiefs and our history are genuinely sincere," noted Crane. "One example was with our newest chiefs. She attended the final portion of the last chiefs' induction season. That morning she said to me, 'CMC [command master chief], stop protecting me, let's go see our new chiefs!' Her muddy jacket from that event hangs in her office now, presented to her by our new chiefs. It and a picture of her chiefs mess are the first thing you see when you walk into her office."
Wilson is fond of saying, "We stand on the shoulders on those who pass before us." That statement is in direct reference to the honor, courage and commitment that has been handed down to her from her father.
As such, Naval Hospital Bremerton chiefs mess knew there could be no more fitting and just appreciation to remember her father's legacy, as well as duly commemorate her obligation to her last command than to welcome her into the NHB goat locker.
Capt. Wilson will hold her change of command and retirement ceremony, on July 18, at Naval Hospital Bremerton.
For more news from Naval Hospital Bremerton, visit www.navy.mil/local/nhb/.