PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– Fellow chiefs, family members, friends, and coworkers watched as 18 new chief petty officers from across Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River were pinned in a ceremony on Nov. 19 in the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Hangar.
After nearly two months of intensive training, study, drills, and preparation, the Sailors donned anchors that represent more than a century of heritage and tradition as the 128th chief petty officer class.
NAS Patuxent River Command Master Chief Abel Griego served as emcee for the ceremony and began by reflecting on his own pinning ceremony in 2005.
“Each year that followed, I was then entrusted to fulfill the duty to develop and initiate new chiefs,” Griego said. “Adversities do not stop chiefs; they present challenges as opportunities to overcome. These new chiefs represent what can be done with new ways to communicate and new ways to interact. Our Navy is ready for the future and these new chiefs are ready to lead us forward.”
Griego took a moment to highlight the importance of Navy traditions, noting the chief petty officer rank has a 128-year history.
“Traditions in the Navy dictate the way in which we come aboard or leave a ship, or even greet one another,” he said. “It describes how we relieve the watch, begin and end each day, and tradition guides much of the routine in between. Naval traditions are the best parts of our past that we preserve in ceremonies and customs. They are preserved because they link us with unique and memorable aspects of our seafaring and warfighting history. We ensure that traditions are practiced consistently with our core values of honor, courage and commitment, our Navy ethos and with our culture of excellence themes of toughness, trust, and connectedness.”
Today, there are three chief petty officer ranks: chief, senior chief, and master chief. Chiefs are recognized for exemplary technical expertise within their rating, superior administrative skills, and strong leadership ability. Most importantly, chiefs bridge the gap between officers and enlisted personnel, acting as supervisors as well as advocates for their Sailors.