By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cory Asato, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) — More than 200 Navy Region Northwest Chief Petty Officers Association (CPOA) members and Chief selects kicked off the 25th Annual Blackberry Festival, Aug. 30.
The CPOA has been coordinating a Chief select 5k formation run to start the festival on the Bremerton waterfront since the festival’s inception 25 years ago.
“Seeing these Chiefs and selectees out in the community deepening ties and rallying support for the military makes a huge impact on the respect everyone has for the military,” said retired Senior Chief Fire Control Technician John Gardner, race assistant for the festival. “Having served during the Vietnam-era, when we did not have the support of the public, I really do appreciate these Sailors making positive impression in the community.”
The CPOA raised and donated $549 to the festival; which in turn invests all proceeds in the local community.
“It’s an honor to for the Chiefs Mess to be a part of this for a quarter of a century,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Arne Marin, a Cucamonga, Calif. native and CPOA coordinator for the event. “Using this long standing tie with the community to instill pride in our selectees who will soon join us as brothers in the Chiefs Mess is why the bystanders can feel our pride as we sing our cadence through the streets of Bremerton on the run.”
The Chiefs and selectees braved the rain to best last year’s 5k time was by a minute to 28:20.
“Although our indoctrination process is not over, completing a cadence run together with the mess gives that same sense of accomplishment and camaraderie that we’re looking forward to [when we are pinned to Chief],” said Chief Information Systems Technician (Select) Richard Barnett, a High Point, N.C. native assigned to Carrier Strike Group 3.
CPO 365 Phase II is scheduled to conclude on Sept. 15, followed by a pinning ceremony Sept. 16.