SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Sixteen Sailors from Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen advanced to the rank of chief petty officer (CPO) during a pinning ceremony at Naval Base Guam Sept. 13.
The Sailors were pinned in front of family, friends and shipmates as part of a ceremony that saw 29 Sailors advance to their new rank, joined by one Air Force technical sergeant advancing to master sergeant. A total of 46 Sailors advanced island-wide.
"Advancing to chief is one of the greatest accomplishments and milestones in my career," said Chief Machinist's Mate David Begley, of Duluth, Georgia. "Having my family travel all the way to Guam to see me put on anchors for the first time is something I will never forget.
Master Chief Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician Rick Straney, command master chief for Commander, Task Force 75, was the guest speaker. Straney, who's been in the Navy 28 years, spoke about the importance of the chief initiation season.
“Things that aren’t hard are not valued,” said Straney, a native of Melbourne, Florida. “It’s why this process is so difficult. These new chiefs, and us old ones alike, value the Chiefs' Mess and our obligation to execute our sworn duties more because of this process. We will not let the mission falter or take risk with our team’s good name.”
Straney went on to congratulate the news chiefs and welcome them to the Chiefs' Mess.
“We made true chief petty officers this year in Guam and all over our Navy,” Straney said. “They are tougher and more prepared to lead Sailors and will be more resilient if asked to fight than they when they first started this process.
"The selects went through this season with heart and pride and stuck together as much as we tried to drive a wedge into their team," he continued. "And now they’ve earned a position on our team, and I’m proud to be standing here with them.”
After learning of their promotion the first week of August, the new chief petty officers participated in six weeks of rigorous training known as Sailor 360-Chief Initiation. Selectees were presented challenges designed to strengthen their leadership skills and to provide a better understanding of what it means to be a Navy chief. They also learned the history and traditions of the Chiefs' Mess.
For newly pinned USS Key West (SSN 722) CPO, Chief Electrician's Mate Ryan Helm, the promotion was a proud moment.
"It feels great, after all the hard work over my entire career," said Helm, who hails from Irving, Texas. “I wouldn’t have been successful if it wasn’t for everyone’s help throughout this process. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Straney ended the ceremony with one last piece of advice for the new chiefs.
“Ask Sailors to do tough things and be impressed when they do because most will prevail.”
For more news from Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, visit our official CSS-15 website at http://www.csp.navy.mil/css15 and our official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SubmarineSquadron15/.
Are you interested in taking orders to Guam? Want to learn more about the duty station and life on our island? For more information, check out the ‘Go Guam!’ website at http://www.csp.navy.mil/go-guam/ and download the ‘1st Fifteen’ checklist.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, visit www.navy.mil/local/subron15/.