USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS) -- New chief petty officers were pinned in a ceremony aboard guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69), Sept. 14.
The chief petty officer induction and training process, which began six weeks ago for selectees, helped prepare the new chiefs for their new tier of leadership.
"You have greater responsibility [as a chief]," said Chief Operations Specialist (SW) Luis Sandoval, who was pinned during the ceremony. "There's no more running to the chief for answers - you are the chief. A benefit is that you have the whole chief's mess backing you up and helping you."
The pinning ceremony marks the end of the induction process and represents a new beginning through a proud naval tradition.
"As chiefs we are now proud upholders of tradition," said Chief Information Systems Technician (SW/EXW) Michael Burns, who was pinned during the ceremony. "We are the only branch of service that has a rank like chief. I think it builds camaraderie between us that the other branches don't get to experience."
Becoming a chief can be a long and difficult journey, but there is a reason it isn't easy.
"[Induction] reminds you where you came from and doesn't let you forget how you got to where you are," said Chief Damage Controlman (SW/AW) Gary Lee, another of Vicksburg's newly-pinned chiefs. "Ultimately it's the Sailors that got us where we are. They are the ones who built us up and helped us become good leaders."
The Sailors that have helped the new chiefs get to where they are now have the benefit of being helped by the new chiefs as they assume greater leadership roles.
"We have a new role, we have to be more involved," said Chief Fire Controlman (SW) Lawrence Evans, who was also pinned during the ceremony.
"We have to know more about administration and know the Navy instructions," said Evans. "It's not just that though, you have to be involved with Sailors lives personally and professionally. That could be the most important thing of all. Sailors depend on you."
Vicksburg is currently deployed to 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.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS Enterprise (CVN 65), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn65/.