SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A group of 37 Sailors from commands throughout San Diego who have been selected to advance to the rank of chief petty officer (CPO) are taking part in the first CPO Legacy Academy from Aug. 26-31 aboard the USS Midway (CV 41) Museum in San Diego Bay.
During their stay aboard Midway, CPO selectees will receive lessons in leadership, teamwork and Navy history from a group of chiefs, senior chiefs and master chief petty officers who volunteered to live aboard the ship as program mentors.
Although this is the first year for the San Diego area program, the Midway CPO Legacy Academy is modeled after successful leadership programs offered on board the historic USS Constitution in Boston as well as the USS Missouri (BB 63) Museum at Pearl Harbor.
"Back in February 2012, the Pacific Fleet Master Chief presented a plan to stand up a legacy academy in San Diego at the USS Midway Museum," said Navy Region Southwest Command Master Chief Nancy Hollingsworth.
"With USS Constitution and the battleship Missouri only able to host a total of 250 CPO selectees each year, we wanted to offer an opportunity to provide a legacy academy to the chief selects in the Southwest region."
Hollingsworth said the CPO Legacy Academy is a five-day training period held in conjunction with CPO induction, which is steeped in naval history and brings chief selectees, chief petty officers and veterans together to focus on naval heritage and leadership.
The Midway Museum has hosted sleep over events in the past, but this will be the largest group of active duty military working and living aboard since the ship's arrival to San Diego in 2004.
The focus of the CPO Legacy Academy aboard Midway is not only on the ship itself, but also on Navy heritage specific to the San Diego area.
"While our legacy week is derived from the academies on USS Constitution and the battleship Missouri, we also want to recognize and instill San Diego's rich naval history at North Island, Point Loma and the USS Midway," said Senior Chief Yeoman Luis Patino, one of the co-chairmen who spearheaded the efforts to offer the first CPO Leadership Academy in San Diego.
CPO selectees who are attending the training said it is a unique opportunity.
"It's special enough to be selected for chief petty officer but to be chosen to be part of the first academy on an aircraft carrier is a lot to take in," said Chief (select) Hospital Corpsman Adam McPherson. "I am deeply honored to be one of the chosen few that get to experience this week of heritage training."
For one command master chief, coming to the Midway museum for CPO legacy week to serve as a mentor was like coming back home.
"I reported to USS Midway Jan. 15, 1983 which was then forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan," said Naval Air Facility El Centro Command Master Chief Ted Gallinat. "To come back at this stage of my career and to be a part of the first CPO Legacy Academy on what was my first ship means the world to me."
The overall goal of the program is to help the Sailors develop a stronger sense of naval heritage, which is part of the mission, vision and guiding principles of the rank of CPO. Advancing to the enlisted rank of CPO is a career milestone for a U.S. Navy Sailor.
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