Former MCPON Helps Celebrate 119th Birthday of the CPO

Story Number: NNS120404-24Release Date: 4/4/2012 10:05:00 PM
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By Matt Molge, Training Support Center Great Lakes Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, Ill (NNS) -- Training Support Center (TSC) Learning Sites welcomed a former master chief petty officer of the Navy (MCPON) and CPOs who gathered to celebrates the 119th birthday of the chief petty officer (CPO), March 30.

"On the 119th birthday of the CPO rank, I'm very pleased by the Chiefs' Mess, their teamwork, ownership, and I am struck by the differences between now, and when I was MCPON," said former MCPON Jim Herdt, who served as the ninth MCPON.

The birthday celebration kicked off with the ceremonial observance of colors, and a cake-cutting ceremony followed by a reenlistment of Senior Chief Interior Communications Electrician (SW) John W. Coleman.

"What better way to show my gratitude to those chiefs that have gone before me, if I reenlist on the day we celebrate the chiefs' birthday," said Coleman.

The title of the chief was made official April 1, 1893 but the rank can actually be traced to the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War. In 1776, a cook aboard the USS Alfred, one of the Navy's first warships, was promoted to "chief cook."

"This was truly a great honor to celebrate the 119th birthday with MCPON Herdt," said Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Robert Tompkins, of TSC. "He was able to see deckplate leadership firsthand and note how things have changed over the years."

Along with the birthday celebration in the morning Herdt visited with the Great Lakes Chief Petty Officers Association, an area Chiefs' Mess, and received a brief by the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions, Great Lakes Chapter.

Herdt also served as guest speaker for the 119th Birthday Ball held March 31.

"The Chiefs' Mess are making an investment in the future of the Navy, their professionalism is both humbling and inspiring," said Herdt.

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