SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Navy Expeditionary Forces Command Pacific (NEFCPAC) units in Guam joined the more than 30 Sailors to accept the rank and responsibilities of chief petty officer (CPO), during a pinning ceremony at the Big Screen Theater onboard Naval Base Guam, Sept. 13.
NEFCPAC units joining the Joint Region Marianas CPO season included Commander, Task Force 75; 30th Naval Construction Regiment; Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5; and Coastal Riverine Group 1 Det. Guam.
“During the past six weeks, we trained and tested the new chief selectees,” said Chief Electronics Technician Michael Lewis, who led Chief Season for the Joint Region Marianas region this year. “It was great to share our experiences with them and help them get ready for the added stress and challenges they will face as chiefs.”
The ceremony was the culmination of an intense six-week training period that began Aug. 1, the day CPO advancement results were released. Throughout the training, senior leaders introduced the CPO selectees to a set of challenges designed to strengthen their leadership and mentoring abilities.
“Balancing work and the chief season was difficult,” said newly pinned Chief Engineman Derick Hernandez. “Some of us were part of the planning and execution of one of the many major exercises that took place during the season. As a result, we had to reschedule chief select trainings because our mission always comes first.”
The ceremony’s guest speaker, NEFCPAC’s Command Master Chief Rick Straney, a part of the Chiefs' Mess 18 years, said the chiefs going through this season are some of the sharpest the Navy has to offer.
“We made true chief petty officers this year here in Guam and all over our Navy. They are tougher and more prepared to lead Sailors and will be more resilient if asked to fight than when they started this process,” Straney said.
Hernandez also mentioned that working alongside selectees of different types of commands was challenging at first, due to the differences on the way that everyone operates, which forced them to set aside differences and work together to accomplish the tasks given to them.
“At the beginning, I was afraid of the process, but I have grown to appreciate my peers, juniors and seniors even more,” Hernandez said. “ Knowing that they helped me get to where I am now inspires me to become even better. I still get to do my job, but now I get to mentor future chiefs.”
As an organization, NEFCPAC executes operational command and control of assigned and attached Navy Expeditionary Combat Forces in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations and serves as the core Navy battle staff for crisis response and major combat operations. They plan and execute coastal riverine, explosive ordnance disposal, diving operations, construction and Navy expeditionary logistics operations.
For more news from Commander, Task Force 75, visit www.navy.mil/local/ctf75/.