USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS) -- Guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69) began induction of four new chief selectees, Aug. 1.
The chief petty officer induction process, which began this week for selectees, culminates in a pinning ceremony aboard Vicksburg, Sept. 14.
Chief induction is meant to train selectees in their new tier of leadership as well as provide mentorship. It has been a tradition since the creation of the rank of chief petty officer in 1893.
"Everybody looks at a chief petty officer as someone who has the answers," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Michael G. Burns, a chief petty officer selectee. "You have to be a subject matter expert in your field and be completely squared away, or else junior Sailors could lose faith in you."
The induction process is one aspect making the E-7 rank in the United States Navy so unique.
"We are the only branch of service that has a rank like chief," said Burns. "I think it builds a camaraderie between us that the other branches don't get to experience."
Chief induction can be a rigorous and challenging process for some Sailors, but it is meant to offer training for the challenges ahead.
"Some people dread induction," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Luis A. Sandoval, a chief petty officer selectee. "I don't dread it at all. It's not easy, but few things that are worth doing are, and it is a great learning opportunity."
According to Sandoval, the combined experiences of the Chief's Mess make induction an invaluable process.
"The chiefs that train us have so much knowledge and experience that can prepare us for the road ahead and show us how to deal with difficult situations," said Sandoval.
The induction process is also meant to expand on leadership skills Sailors learned as first class petty officers and enhance them.
"One thing you have to ask yourself is 'what kind of leader will I be?'" said Fire Controlman 1st Class Lawrence Evans, a chief petty officer selectee. "You have to choose a leadership style that fits you and helps your junior Sailors. These are the questions they like us to reflect on during the induction process."
Although the chief induction process has been around for more than a century, it has changed through the years.
"They have streamlined the whole process," said Damage Controlman 1st Class Gary S. Lee, another of Vicksburg's chief petty officer selectees. "A lot has changed in the Navy over the last few years. One of the things you can do as a chief petty officer is effect real changes for good in the Navy."
Vicksburg is on its final deployment and is currently operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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