CHICAGO (NNS) -- Chief petty officers (CPO) and chief petty officer selects from Recruit Training Command (RTC) and 12 additional commands from the greater Great Lakes region gathered to demonstrate their pride and heritage during the 17th annual Chicago CPO Pride Day Aug. 28.
Each year the selects begin the day with a visit to the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center to spend time with veterans.
Then, the 102 selects met up with more than 400 CPOs at the Navy Pier for a cadence competition and lunch before beginning the 4.5-mile march though the Windy City, visiting significant landmarks along the way. They stopped at locations such as the Buckingham Fountain, the Seated Lincoln Statue in Grant Park, and the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, where they were able to view the names of more than 2,900 Illinois servicemen who gave their lives during the Vietnam War.
“This event reminds us chiefs, teaches the new chief selects, and demonstrates to the local community the power and professionalism of the Navy chief,” said Senior Chief Damage Controlman Mark Rayner, this year’s Pride Day coordinator. “As we marched through the streets of downtown Chicago it stopped traffic, put smiles on faces, evoked cheers, and really instilled a spirit of patriotism in everyone that witnessed the event.”
The Navy also aims to instill a deep sense of heritage within its Sailors, so they can better understand the history of their service, and use those lessons to fuel their motivation as they serve today. For one chief select, the day brought to light his future responsibilities as a chief petty officer in regard to Navy history.
“Participating in Pride Day definitely opened my eyes to the amount of knowledge that there is just driving down the street,” said Navy Diver 1st Class John Hanson, who will be promoted to chief petty officer September 14. “And just connecting that with the (Navy) heritage piece taught me that Chiefs are really pivotal in upholding the heritage and traditions for the whole Navy.”
The chiefs and future chief petty officers finished the day where they started their march, at the anchor from USS Chicago (CA-29), which is from the third warship named after the city.
After the 4.5 miles of motivated marching and history lessons were over, the selects hopefully took away the biggest lesson of all: that the Chiefs Mess is about more than just tackling the tough jobs, it’s about embracing your new family in one another.
“Navy chiefs have an immense level of responsibility and it’s very easy to get consumed in the mission and taking care of our Sailors and command,” said Rayner. “This event reminds us of the importance of ‘breaking bread’ and enjoy the camaraderie and unity of the Chiefs Mess.”
Chicago Pride Day was established in 2003, and is modeled after a similar event held yearly in Boston. The purpose of the event is to introduce newly selected chief petty officers to the heritage of the City of Chicago and to instill pride in them as members of the Chicagoland community. It also presents an opportunity for the citizens of Chicago to learn more about the heritage of the Navy and the Sailors stationed at Recruit Training Command, which is about 35 miles north of the city.
For more information visit: www.navy.mil
For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/rtc/
For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/rtc/.