FORT DETRICK, Md. (NNS) -- Naval Medical Logistics Command, stationed at Fort Detrick celebrated the 123rd birthday of the Navy chief petty officer, April 1.
Led by the NMLC CPO Association, command members gathered in recognition of a traditional celebration where chiefs expressed their sincere feelings about what it means to be a chief and how those who may follow in the footsteps of current chiefs might set their sights for entering the 'brotherhood.'
"The CPO birthday is special because it recognizes a point in history when one of the most exclusive brotherhoods in the Navy was established," according to Chief Hospital Corpsman John McGilvery, of NMLC's Operational Forces Support Directorate. "The Navy is full of tradition and heritage, and the CPO Mess is a big part of that."
Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Blake West, assigned to NMLC, who was the master of ceremonies for the event, agreed. In addition to leading the ceremony, he talked about various celebrations throughout the Navy.
"The Navy CPO birthday celebration is different from other birthday celebrations because chiefs are not limited to just one community," said West. "They have an impact on many different communities."
His thoughts were similar to those of Force Master Chief Terry J. Prince.
"Of all the traditions the Navy holds, being promoted to chief, is one of the most valued," said Prince. "When we put on those anchors we take on the challenge to live and work as servant leaders, to develop our Sailors to be and do more than they ever thought possible, and to pass down the pride in heritage and tradition that comes with being a Navy chief."
Chief Hospital Corpsman Keith Watford, of NMLC's Medical Equipment and Logistics Solutions Directorate, described why the celebration was important.
"The CPO birthday is important to me because it reminds me every year of what it takes to become a chief, and the naval traditions behind becoming a chief," said Watford. "We are able to mold and grow our Sailors here at NMLC because of the knowledge and comradery within our CPO Mess. The phrase, 'Ask the Chief,' holds true here because the 'Goat Locker' is strong."
In closing out his career, McGilvery summarized the event with the following comments.
"Hopefully Sailors see how the CPOs fellowship together," said McGilvery. "Hopefully, they will want to be a part of we grow together, as a cohesive group. As a chief petty officer at the tail end of my career, that fellowship is the thing I'll miss most in addition to that sense of belonging and knowing I can get anything accomplished with the help of my brothers and sisters."
NMLC has a number of first class petty officers waiting to see if they will be invited to don the anchors and become a part of that coveted fraternity. Only time will tell.
For more news from Naval Medical Logistics Command, http://visit www.navy.mil/local/nmlc/.