USS GUNSTON HALL, At Sea (NNS) -- Current and former chief petty officers (CPO) aboard USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) honored 117 years of the CPO rank with a cake-cutting ceremony April 1.
Chiefs from Gunston Hall and embarked Africa Partnership Station (APS) West held a cake-cutting ceremony in the Chiefs Mess.
"We need to reaffirm our commitment to the Navy, our ships and Sailors, and most importantly to each other," said Command Master Chief (SW/SS) Duke Ownings, from Reisterstown, Md. "Remember where you came from; never forget that leading Sailors is a privilege not a right or position. It's all about the Sailor."
The ceremony was a chance for the 28 chiefs in attendance to reflect on what it means to be among the senior enlisted leaders in the Navy. Many chiefs agreed that their job is to work together to plan and execute the mission of the Navy. They do this through combining years of experience, which brings different ideas and views together for training and mentoring Sailors.
"The saying goes, 'Officers run the Navy, but the chiefs make the Navy run'" said Chief Yeoman (SW) Arthur K. King, from Hartford, Conn., APS West administrative officer. "That's because of the brotherhood and respect the chiefs have for each other."
"The Chiefs Mess is Navy pride, remembrance for all past and present" said Chief Boatswain's Mate (SW/AW) Patrick Drumm, from Upper Darby, Pa. "The mess is a brotherhood and I am glad to be part of it, I'm honored to be a Navy chief."
The Mess is the CPO's way of networking and problem solving; a one-stop shop with unlimited resources of knowledge gained from years and years of experience.
"The Chiefs Mess has a cultural diversity within it and it really helps bring different ideas and views, which kind of holds us together," King said.
The most junior chief aboard Gunston Hall had the honor of cutting the cake.
"It was a great honor being the newest Chief on board," said Chief Quartermaster (SW) Deenicia Canty from Lake City, Fla." I take in everything the Chiefs say by listening to there sea stories and advice, a great since of pride. Because leadership starts with us."
Gunston Hall is on a scheduled deployment in the 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility in support of APS West, an international initiative developed by Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa that aims to improve maritime safety and security in West and Central Africa.
For more news from USS Gunston Hall, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lsd44/.