By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Jamie Hawkins, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
BREMERTON, Wash. – More than 100 chief petty officers (CPO) and CPO selects, assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest, participated in the 24th annual Bremerton Blackberry Festival’s 5-kilometer run, Aug. 31.
Bremerton’s Blackberry Festival is a three-day event in which the local community comes to the city for concerts, local sights, and to participate in the annual running events.
“For the last few years the regional chiefs and chief selectees come together for the annual Blackberry Festival run,” said Chief Hull Maintenance Technician Chris Surman, assigned to Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Bangor. “This shows the local community that we as Chiefs are a part of and support them.”
Along with starting the festival with a formation run, the CPO and CPO selects raised money to be donated back to the community.
“The cities along the Puget Sound carry on a rich naval history, and events like this gives our chief community a chance to demonstrate unity throughout the Chiefs mess and the region,” said Chief (Select) Hospital Corpsman Oscar Baldevia, assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton. “Our goal is to prove to the current chiefs that we are worthy to join the mess and show off some naval pride to the community as well.”
Retired Chief Gunner’s Mate Arthur Kaine said the CPO selects participating in the Blackberry Festival Fun Run does just as much for the mess as it does the community.
“I served in the mess for over nine years, and I lost count of how many kilometers I’ve run in events like this,” said Kaine. “This Fun Run will bring the new CPOs closer to each other as brothers and sisters and make all the CPO community stronger.”
Prior to the run, the newly selected chiefs recited the Sailor’s Creed and sang “Anchors Aweigh” for fellow runners and festival goers.
CPO selects are Sailors undergoing Phase II of CPO 365 before assuming the duties and responsibilities of a CPO Sept. 13.