NORFOLK (NNS) -- Thirty Sailors aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) were pinned to the rank of chief petty officer during a ceremony in the ship’s hangar bay, Sept. 18.
An audience consisting of the commanding officer, executive officer, command master chief, several active-duty and retired service members and friends and family came to see these Sailors join the proud, 125-year history of the chief petty officer rank.
“The Navy tradition is a really powerful thing,” said Commanding Officer Capt. Putnam H. Browne to the chief petty officers. “You’ve come a long way, enduring hard times, but you have made our Navy what it is today.”
The chief selectees underwent a six-week training cycle - a traditional rite of passge into the Chiefs Mess. The extensive cycle included physical training, as well as classes designed to prepare the selectees for what it takes to become a Navy chief.
“It was a very challenging process, but well worth it,” said newly-pinned Chief Air Traffic Controller Mark Summers. “We learned a lot of valuable lessons that prepared us to be chiefs. If you really want something, you have to earn it, and that’s what we did.”
Advancing to chief petty officer is an accomplishment that requires hard work and dedication. It was a special moment for those who finally put on the highly sought-after gold anchors, symbolizing the next stage of their career.
“This was one of the greatest days of my life,” said newly-pinned Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Jason Hamilton. “You get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something great just happened. Making chief is third to the birth of my child and getting married. ”
A Sailor does not become a chief petty officer on their own; it takes support from others to attain this achievement.
“No one in this room can do anything without the family and support network that drives us every single day,” said Abraham Lincoln’s Command Master Chief James W. Stedding.
Chief petty officers are expected to impeccably uphold the highest naval standards and groom future generations of chief petty officers, raising petty officers first class to those same standards.
“The mentorship and guidance I received from the Chiefs Mess is second to none,” said Hamilton. “They prepared me for the future and to carry the weight of these anchors. They are truly an amazing Chiefs Mess. ”
Putting on the fouled anchor symbolizes the trials and tribulations that every chief petty officer must endure on a daily basis. It means being tasked with responsibilities bigger then one’s own achievements, for the future of the Navy will be shaped by these new chiefs.
“I’m challenging each one of you to lead, mentor and develop,” said Stedding. “We cannot move on as a service if we don’t pay it forward. We are here to train our reliefs and the next future Navy leaders, and it starts now.”
Although it was a time for celebration, these newest chiefs are prepared and eager to get started with their new responsibilities.
“I’m very excited to start this journey,” said newly-pinned Chief Yeoman Terrance Dubose. “It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but I’m looking forward to getting started and helping all the Sailors aboard Abraham L incoln.”
Through an intense curriculum and full participation, the tradition of advancing from E-6 to E-7 is an empowering process aimed at fostering unity and pride. The future leaders of the Navy are now under the influence of these newly-pinned chiefs.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.