ABOARD CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- Six members of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Carrier Air Wing 9 team reached a peak in their naval careers when they were frocked to the rank of master chief petty officer during a ceremony March 31.
The Carl Vinson chief's mess was packed with a crowd to witness the promotions to the highest enlisted rank, which by congressional mandate, fewer than 1 percent of those serving in the armed forces will attain.
"It is a result of many years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice," said Carl Vinson's Command Master Chief, CMDCM (AW/SW) Rick Rose. "Something these new master chief petty officers gave every day of their careers."
Commander, Carrier Group 3, Rear Adm. Evan M. Chanik began the ceremony with words of praise for the accomplishments of the six Sailors.
"This is a real privilege and pleasure, being able to witness this," said Chanik. "It certainly represents a lot of years of work, of effort, of learning, of teaching, of developing teams, and it all comes down to a quick frocking ceremony, where we have a chance to recognize those significant accomplishments."
For one new master chief, the ceremony was a reunion, bringing together the aviation structural mechanic with a pilot of the aircraft he had maintained.
"Master chief was a plane captain for me a few years back," said Chanik, a former F-14 Tomcat pilot, while pinning Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman (AW/SW) Boxer Gacad of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112.
"Making master chief has added more icing to the cake. In as much as it is not so easy to make chief nowadays, making senior chief to me was a big highlight in my career," said Gacad of his own achievements. "Attaining the rank of master chief just makes it very self-fulfilling. Not too many get to this level."
With their newly appointed rank, the master chiefs inherit the responsibility of shaping the Navy of the future.
"They have selected me to mentor the men and women of today's Navy, who will one day be putting on khakis and be tomorrow's mentors," said Master Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Terry Bryant.
After the ceremony, Rose had words of wisdom for all junior Sailors, who aspire to wear the gold anchors of chief petty officers.
"Work hard. Good things happen, and you make your own luck. Take a look around you, and study the careers of those who have been successful," said Carl Vinson's top-enlisted Sailor. "It is not near the secret that many think it is. Proven performance at sea, coupled with superb leadership skills, goes a long way."
The Carl Vinson Battle Group is currently deployed in the western Pacific as part of America's standing commitment to maintain peace and stability in cooperation with allies and friends in the region.
For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70.