Congratulations to all of our Navy’s newest Chief Petty Officers! And to all the family, friends, and shipmates who helped get you to this moment.
This is a transformational day…one you will remember with pride. The journey you took to get here was tough…you were tempered … you were tested … and you were accepted. You have earned your anchors.
But now the real challenge begins…You have joined the finest institution in the world…the Chief’s Mess of our great Navy.
By institution, I do not mean a special space…collar device…or a set of traditions...but the sum total of acts our Chiefs undertake every day to make our Navy the finest fighting force in the world.
Even the briefest scan of history shows that our Chiefs are Sailors of action. Some, like Medal of Honor winners Oscar Peterson and Peter Tomich, gave their lives for their Sailors. Others like Dick Turpin and April Beldo broke through barriers to make our Navy stronger. But there is something even more powerful than their individual examples…our Navy’s 245-year history of success in battle.
Our Navy relies on the strength of the Mess. We just commemorated the 75th anniversary of our victory in the Second World War. The line of heroes that inspire us from that struggle span all ranks and rates. Sailors like Gunner’s Mate Third Class Paul Carr and Mess Attendant First Class Dorris Miller stand alongside others like Commander Ernest Evans and Commander Howard Gilmore. All showed great courage under fire…all gave their life for our country.
But what also ties them together, is that they were all trained, and they were mentored and inspired by our Chief Petty Officers. And those Chiefs would probably tell you they weren’t looking for credit, they were simply focused on the actions needed to get the mission done. They were focused on making our Navy team the most lethal fighting force in the world. And they were focused on creating warriors - the Sailors and Officers whose actions would bring America victory at sea.
Today, we face another great power competition, one that tests us in different ways, but one that still has potential for devastating consequences. The margins of victory at sea are razor thin. We have to be ready.
So I charge all Chiefs to think about your Mess as a living, breathing institution - one that must be renewed each morning. An institution that rises to the high standards of those who came before you and one that leaves our Navy stronger. A place where you re-earn your Anchors every day and treasure that incredible gift of being called “the Chief.”
Now, we must take a moment to honor those who poured their time, energy, and faith into each one of you. To all the family, friends, and shipmates of our newest Chiefs – Thank you! Our Navy appreciates your many years of sacrifice and service. This day belongs to you as well!
Carrying forward the legacy of those who came before you will test you and will require all the wisdom and strength that brought you to this day. The demands placed on you will be tough. I have high expectations of our Chief Petty Officers, as do the Sailors you will serve and lead. But I am confident that you will meet this challenge with humility and determination.
Draw strength from the creed and your fellow Chiefs. Endure adversity with focused determination. Make the most of every day, leading our Sailors and Officers to fulfill the promise of their potential.
Congratulations, Chiefs…now Anchor Up!
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