SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Ten Sailors from amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) earned the title of “chief” and received their anchors during a chief petty officer pinning ceremony held on the flight deck, Sept. 14.
Chief Boatswain’s Mate Lee R. Hellberg, Chief Machinist’s Mate Nicholas J. Ferro, Chief Hospital Corpsman Christopher L. Reaves, Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) David Alvarado, Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Kyle R. Fisher, Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Ryan N. Heeney, Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Trenton J. Hagley, Chief Personnel Specialist Soledad Arcefuentes, Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Jefrey Rosario, and Chief Machinist’s Mate Minzhi Long became Boxer’s newest chief petty officers.
The ceremony was the culmination of the six-week initiation period known as Sailor 360, Phase II, a program designed to teach the seven leadership elements Sailors need to be effective leaders and mentors in the Navy: alignment, habits, training, education, opportunity, feedback, and self-awareness. The Sailor 360 program is command led and comprised of short duration, high-impact advanced learning courses focusing on character, ethics, decision making and leadership.
Capt. Ronald A. Dowdell, Boxer’s commanding officer, welcomed the new chiefs into Boxer’s Chiefs Mess and recognized the traits that enable them to be leaders amongst their peers.
“Today, we welcome 10 new chief petty officers into this esteemed institution,” said Dowdell. “Ten new chief petty officers, who have been selected for their extraordinary rating expertise, their leadership and their commitment to service. They bring these traits to the mess, but they bring so much more.”
Lt. Cmdr. Riley E. Swinney, Boxer’s maintenance officer and a former chief petty officer who commissioned through the limited duty officer program, spoke on the value of the experience the new chiefs bring to help accomplish the Navy’s mission.
“Today, we’re bringing 125 years of experience into the Chiefs Mess,” said Swinney. “So, you can’t tell me there is a solution that is not within our midst, and nothing that comes in our way that we can’t solve. We are tough. We are defenders of freedom around the globe. We support and defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic… and our Navy chiefs are our first line of defense.”
After being pinned with their anchors by friends, family members, or mentors, each chief received a combination cover from their Phase II sponsoring chief, symbolizing a new position of leadership and responsibility. After donning their new cover, each chief was welcomed into Boxer’s Chiefs Mess as the ship’s bell was rang and they passed sideboys comprised of fellow chiefs.
With the chief selectee season finally coming to an end, Swinney had some final words of advice for the newly-pinned chiefs.
“Be the ‘Chief’,” said Swinney. “Those anchors are highly respected and everyone strives to earn them. You need to continue to earn them every day. Never take your anchors for granted.”
The ceremony concluded with a time-honored tradition of new chief petty officers leading Boxer’s Chiefs Mess in a loud and proud performance of Anchors Aweigh.
Boxer is pierside in its homeport for contractor maintenance availability.
For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.