COVINGTON, Ky. (NNS) -- Chief Fire Controlman Thomas Edward Bender Jr., originally from Akron, Ohio, was advanced to the rank of chief petty officer (CPO) in the United States Navy.
Bender is currently serving as a Navy Recruiter for Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Ohio, working out of Navy Recruiting Station (NRS) Maple Heights. His wife Andrea, his daughter Peyton and his son Mason pinned his anchors on him at the Chief Petty Officer Pinning Ceremony held at the Radsisson Cincinnati Waterfront.
Bender stated that he was excited, happy and a little scared when NRD Ohio Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Eric Shafer called to congratulate him on his selection to CPO on Aug. 6.
Bender said, "I felt amazing, knowing that I was going to be part of something bigger and better than I ever had before."
After receiving the news that he was selected, Bender called his family, some of the chiefs he knew, some of his peers and some of his junior personnel to relay the good news.
Bender said, "you have to put your heart and soul into making chief. It's not about you. It's about the people that helped to get you to where you are. So you have to remember where you came from."
According to Bender, Chief Fire Controlman James Bell was his greatest influence in becoming a CPO.
Bender said, "he kind of pushed me and I excelled a lot because of him."
Bell served with Bender on the USS Lake Eerie (CG 70) until 2013 as his leading chief petty officer.
Bell said, "he was an outstanding mentor for the junior Sailors. As our division's career counselor, he was always on top of our Sailors' career intentions."
According to Bell, Bender checked onboard as a second class petty officer and shortly afterward was advanced to first class petty officer.
"You would always see him giving advice as well as demonstrating the proper procedures to complete any giving task," Bell said. "I am very proud of his accomplishment and I wish him the best."
According to Shafer, the command emphasizes advancement through studying and mentoring.
Shafer said, "I am proud to see so many of my amazing Sailors make chief. They are more than deserving and I hope that I continue to see so many of my people recognized for their hard work through advancement."
Shafer stated that chiefs are important to the Navy as both technical experts and deckplate leaders. They mold and mentor junior Sailors and execute the vision of senior leadership.
Shafer said, "in Navy recruiting, I rely on chiefs to run recruiting stations, divisions and even departments. Many of my chiefs also serve key roles in recruiting future Naval officers. Most of the districts in Navy recruiting have a small officer wardroom, so our commands would be nearly ineffective without our chiefs."
Advancement to chief petty officer is a major milestone in a Sailor's career. It marks the Sailor as a leader and not only bestows upon them the pay grade of E-7, but also bestows upon them responsibilities and privileges that are unique to a United States Navy chief.
For more news from Navy Recruiting District Ohio, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrdo/.