Story by Chief Petty Officer Ahron Arendes, USS Nimitz
Capt. John Ring, who has been in command of Nimitz since July 2014, was pinned by the current and previous Nimitz Chief Petty Officer Association presidents, while Command Master Chief Jimmy Hailey, Nimitz’ command master chief, presented him with a certificate commemorating the event.
In addition to Ring’s new anchors and certificate, the Nimitz Chiefs Mess also presented him with his own CPO charge book, inscribed by the Nimitz chiefs and vessel.
The honor comes a day prior to his change of command, when he will depart Nimitz and transfer to the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) staff.
“I have never in all of my years of doing this worked with a CO that has empowered the mess more than you have,” said Hailey to Ring in front of the Chiefs Mess. “You let us lead the way we’re supposed to lead, and that’s exactly what we needed as a Chiefs Mess. Thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. We tried to figure out what we could do to thank you for allowing us to be chiefs. Quite honestly, the only way I thought we could properly thank you is to make you an honorary chief.”
Ring, whose career began in 1990, said he was surprised and humbled by the honor.
“There are no words for that. Wow. Holy Smokes,” said Ring to the Chiefs Mess following a standing ovation. “I could not imagine something more meaningful than to be an honorary chief. I’m at a loss for words. This is something that doesn’t happen very often.”
Other notable honorary chiefs are Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus, retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, actor Gary Sinise and celebrity chef Robert Irvine.
“I want to thank you for your loyalty and for taking the vision and making it happen,” Ring said to the Chiefs Mess. “It was a pleasure working with you. You guys are a great and special group and I’ll remember you forever. Thank you for making my tour easy and most importantly, thank you for taking care of our Sailors.”