By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gretchen Albrecht, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs
BREMERTON, Wash.– Family, friends, and Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) staff members watched two tried, tested and accepted Sailors pin on anchors and join the most exclusive of fraternities; The United States Navy Chief Petty Officer Mess, Sept. 16, 2016.
Chiefs took over the command’s morning colors with the flag raising and a rendition of the National Anthem by Chief Hospital Corpsman Christopher Rona to kick off the time-honored ceremony prior to pinning Chief Hospital Corpsman Alvaro Benitez and Chief Hospital Corpsman Christopher Miguel.
NHB’s Commanding Officer, Capt. David Weiss, warmly welcomed each advancing Sailor’s family members and spoke about the importance and significance of chiefs in the Navy.
“I want to especially thank all the spouses and family members here today for their support of our new chiefs and our Navy. The chief selects could not have achieved this significant milestone without you,” said Weiss. “The anchors you pin on today represent hope for our Navy and our future. Chiefs play a vital part in leading Sailors, multitasking and ensuring accomplishment.”
Guest speaker Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Thomas Countryman spoke of new responsibilities each new chief would be expected to succeed at.
“As newly selected chief petty officers I ask you to reflect on the things you have learned over the past few weeks and keep in mind these three things; train and guide your junior officers, mentor, train and develop your junior Sailors into future leaders, and utilize all fellow chiefs for their wealth of knowledge,” said Countryman. “Continue to be yourself. That is a big reason you are here today.”
Family members pinned anchors on the pressed khaki collars of their loved ones and NHB staff members applauded in congratulations as active duty and retired chiefs welcomed two new members into their mess.
For Benitez, the experience was humbling and rewarding, “This experience showed me how challenging it is for me to be vulnerable and it has been very humbling. I am a huge family man and now my family has been extended to include my fellow chiefs.”
Miguel agreed that his experience was very humbling and was looking forward to taking care of his Sailors. “This is not about me. It is about the Sailors who have molded me into the person I am today. I am really looking forward to being ‘the chief’ and molding young Sailors and preparing the future of our Navy.”
NHB also had two other Sailors selected to chief and ceremoniously advanced in pinning ceremonies in other locations. Chief Hospital Corpsman Joseph Montez was pinned aboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) while currently deployed in support of Pacific Partnership 2016 and Chief Hospital Corpsman Dominick Spatola was pinned at Naval Station Everett, Washington.