USS IWO JIMA, At sea (NNS) -- Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 8, and the crew of amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), recognized the Goat Locker community fleetwide and aboard with a cake cutting ceremony and ice cream while on deployment, April 1.
This year, the Navy celebrated the 119th birthday of the chief petty officer (CPO).
"Our chiefs have been an integral part in preparing our Sailors for deployment," said Senior Chief Electronics Technician David Hatch, command senior enlisted leader for PHIBRON 8. "To be the best in the world on deployment they have to be prepared personally and professionally by the finest leaders in the fleet, such as Navy chiefs."
Between Hatch and Iwo Jima Command Master Chief Mario Romero, there are more than 25 years of CPO leadership to share with and pass down to the Iwo Jima crew.
"I put on chief almost 20 years ago, but it didn't really hit me until afterwards," said Romero. "It's not just a pay grade and privileges. Although those anchors put you at the top of the enlisted pyramid, they come with the challenge of being the foundation to support the team. A chief is a leader and a mentor, and their main job is Sailorization."
The road to becoming a chief can seem extremely difficult for any junior Sailor. However, a few key quality principals can help ensure a Sailor's success in the ranks and eventually rise to chief petty officer.
"Commitment is number one," said Romero. "Commitment to quality leadership as a Sailor, that's what is going to get you to the rank of chief petty officer, that and thick skin."
The Iwo Jima is getting ready for this year's CPO induction and getting the Chiefs Mess out there to lead and set the tone of the ship, explained Romero.
"Today's Navy requires chiefs who can make tough decisions in our tough times," continued Hatch. "You have to realize you can't lead all on your own and sometimes, you need to reach out to fellow chiefs and get help to make those decisions. Teamwork is a cornerstone of the CPO Mess and the Navy."
Iwo Jima, the flagship of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group with the embarked 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is currently deployed supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.
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For more news from Amphibious Ready Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/arg8/.