SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Walking into the ship’s hangar bay without a cover while in port is not standard Navy practice. Yet, today is different. Combination covers displaying a single, gold, fouled anchor will soon be placed on the heads of those newly dressed in khaki, and the same anchors will grace their collars, completing the six week transition from petty officer 1st class to United States Navy chief.
Eight Sailors stood ready to embrace their new rank prior to a chief pinning ceremony aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), Sept. 14.
“The anchor exemplifies the weight of the burden that chiefs carry,” said Capt. Rich LeBron, the ship’s commanding officer during his remarks to the new chiefs and ceremony attendees. “It is a heavy burden. Wear it with pride, wear it well, represent your fellow chiefs and the mess well, and make your families proud. I congratulate you, I am proud of you, and I am excited to see what you do next.”
As their names were called, each selectee made their way to the stage for what many chiefs describe as one of the most emotional pinning ceremonies the Navy has to offer.
Joining the selectees on stage were a number of distinguished guests, who had the honor to pin the anchors and place the covers: family members, current and former shipmates, retired veterans, and mentors who had supported and helped guide the eight selectees through the initiation.
“This was truly a humbling process and today is definitely the happiest day of my life,” said Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Ruddia Moncrieffe, from Palm Beach, Fla. “I am very grateful for the people who pushed and motivated me. Individual accomplishments and drive have got me here, but I would not be here without my Sailors who allowed me to lead them.”
One-by-one, each new chief marched smartly off the stage, as they were piped through the ceremonial sideboys and took their place in ranks among the seasoned anchors standing in formation.
“It is amazing to reach this milestone in my naval career,” said newly minted Chief Fire Controlman Michael J. Cox, from Stockton, Calif. “What I take from all this is that I could not be here today without my Sailors and mentors. Now as a chief I want to continue to lead and guide junior Sailors to make them even better than me.”
Bonhomme Richard is currently homeported in San Diego. Its mission is to embark, deploy and land elements of the Marine landing force in amphibious assault operations by aircraft, amphibious vehicles or any combination of these methods, as well as provide humanitarian assistance.
For more news from USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd6/.