Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Cory Asato, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
SILVERDALE, Wash. – Commander, Navy Region Northwest installations: Naval Base Kitsap (NBK), Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) and Naval Station Everett (NSE) facilitated fiscal year 2017 Chief Petty Officer (CPO) pinning ceremonies, Sept. 16.
Many Sailors stationed in the Pacific Northwest were selected for the honor of advancing to CPO. Some tenant commands chose to host their own pinning ceremonies while others chose to hold a mass ceremony with their host installation. NBK hosted seven, NSE twelve and NASWI boasted 73 for a combined 91 CPOs pinned at CNRNW installation ceremonies.
“Roughly 2,000 active-duty first classes were selected for chief petty officer in the fiscal 2017 list,” the Navy Times announced, Aug. 3.
The office of Vice Adm. Robert Burke, a Portage, Michigan, native and Chief of Naval Personnel released a statement that personnel selected for advancement may be frocked per BUPERSINST 1430.16F if qualified according to.
“Honestly, it’s a surreal experience,” said Chief Master-at-Arms Andre Billingsley, stationed with NASWI security forces and was pinned to CPO today. “I never imagined this for myself. I didn’t think I was worthy honestly, but to be accepted by my mess was an amazing feeling.”
Every newly pinned Chief had a sponsor as a Chief selectee – a Chief who served as a mentor – and they now together stand united as a mess, continuing to forge the future of the fleet according to the one of the sponsors.
“Throughout your career you’re being mentored, you may not see it [and] there’s nothing greater than being a sponsor of a sailor [as] the mentorship never really ends,” said GSCS Calvin Peters from the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and one of the sponsors stationed near the Naval Station Everett area. “One of the biggest transitions of making chief from a first class petty officer is the more in depth monitoring and counseling of sailors. You have to dig into each individual’s life because we are responsible for every junior person E-6 and below. It doesn’t matter the command or where they are at, we are responsible for all sailors.”
“The ‘Chief’ is required to be a fountain of wisdom, the ambassador of good will and the authority on personnel relations as well as the technical expert,” according to the Goat Locker. “‘Ask the Chief’ is a household word in and out of the Navy and Coast Guard.”
Different Sailors advance to CPO at different times in their career, whether at a focal transitioning point to senior leadership or at the climax of a salty 20-year naval career, while others are never selected for the honor.
“It’s an experience that unfortunately not too many Sailors get to experience, but it’s well worth the fight to attain,” said Billingsley. “To any Sailor out there I say you can do it, don’t let it be a goal too distant from you, and you can accomplish it if you put your heart and your soul into your Sailors and your career.”
The CPO rank was established in the Navy April 1, 1893.
“During the Revolutionary War, Jacob Wasbie, a Cook’s Mate serving on board the Alfred, one of the first Continental Navy warships, was promoted to “Chief Cook” on June 1, 1776. Chief Cook is construed to mean Cook or Ship’s Cook which was the official rating title at that time. This is the earliest example of the use the term “Chief” located to date by the author [of “History of the Chief Petty Officer Grade,” retired Chief Warrant Officer Lester B. Tucker],” according to the Naval History and Heritage Command.
For a full list of petty officers selected for advancement to CPO, visit: http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/documents/1607_EMBARGOEDFY-17ActiveE-7NAVADMIN_V2.pdf.
For more information on the history of the United States Navy Chief, visit: https://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/organization-and-administration/ranks/enlisted-personnel/history-of-the-chief-petty-officer.html.