BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Thirty-two chief petty officer (CPO) selectees from naval installations throughout the Pacific Northwest region participated in the inaugural USS Turner Joy CPO Legacy Academy in Bremerton, Aug. 28.
Class 001 boarded USS Turner Joy Aug. 26 to spend a week living, working, and training aboard the Vietnam War-era ship along with a group of chief petty officer mentors who provided leadership and lessons on naval history as well as the heritage of the CPO community.
"This is a historic event for Bremerton which has been a great supporter all of these years. This being the year of the chief, I couldn't think of a better time to open inaugural Class 001 aboard this ship," said U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief (SW/AW) John Minyard. "Sailors make history every day and these CPO selectees that make up class 001 will go down in history for all time."
Sailors performed daily upkeep and maintenance on the ship, provided tours for the public, and participated in multiple community relations projects.
"The bottom line is these selectees are doing their part to help preserve naval history, keeping it alive for those who will come up the ranks behind them in the future," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) (AW/SW) Johnny Harris, a CPO mentor.
For Electronics Technician 1st Class (SS) Christopher Knasiak, CPO selectee, working alongside veterans of the Chiefs' Mess not only gave him an inside look at the complex responsibility of a deckplate leader, but also a newfound higher respect for the rank.
"Chiefs really do a lot. There's so much more behind the scenes CPO involvement than I ever thought and being able to work with them, see some of the things they do and the tightness of the CPO community has really opened my eyes," said Knasiak.
The inaugural legacy academy concludes with a graduation ceremony held aboard the decommissioned Forrester Sherman-class destroyer museum ship Aug. 31.
Minyard expressed pride in the success of the CPO academy as a tool in helping to mold selectees as chiefs through knowledge of Navy heritage and camaraderie.
"[CPO selectees] can expect to spend a lot of time with chief mentors, hear sea stories, have guest speakers in the future to share our naval history and help them gain a better understanding and appreciation of our history and heritage. It's my hope their experiences will last a lifetime," said Minyard.
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