Story and photos by Marissa Valentine,FLEACT,Yokosuka Public Affairs
Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka welcomed 11 new Chief Petty Officers (CPO) into the Chiefs’ Mess, during a ceremony at Benny Decker Theater, Sept. 16.
Just six weeks after notifications went out and after beginning specialized training under the administration of the current Chiefs, Senior Chiefs and Master Chiefs, the new Chiefs donned their collar pins and hats.
“To the CPO selectees, congratulations,” said U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Command Master Chief Tyler Schoeppy. “You are about to join a pretty elite group of our Navy’s finest senior enlisted leaders.[When] you consider that only 21,799 of our Navy’s 266,269 enlisted sailors wear anchors on their collars, that’s pretty elite group,” Schoeppy said.
“Being selected as a Chief Petty Officer is a significant milestone in an enlisted Sailors’ career,” he said. “It takes incredible commitment to the organization and the mission for a Sailor to break out of the pack and become a competitive candidate for selection as Chief Petty Officer.”
The new Chiefs pinned at the Benny Decker, in addition to representing FLEACT Yokosuka also represented Commander, Submarine Group Seven and U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka.
“Sew on your anchors each and every day and do what needs done,” said Schoeppy. “Prepare your Sailors for the mission and develop them into the technical experts and expert leaders that you have become.”
“For 121 years, the Chiefs that have gone before you, stood the watch, ready to answer bells and the nation’s call for any mission that needs completing. Shipmates it is your turn to shine, your turn to stand the watch as a United States Navy Chief Petty Officer,” Schoeppy said.
Upon the conclusion of Schoeppy’s speech, individual pinnings were conducted by family members, friends and sponsors. For selectees, the conclusion of the ceremony was an accumulation of a career-long dream.
“This pinning ceremony was a surreal experience for me,” said Aviation Machinist Mate Chief Petty Officer, Mahammad Habeebullah.
“To realize that I have actually made it this far is and exceeded my own expectations, felt like a dream. To have my wife and my son be able to pin me, that was the best feeling in the world. It is one the greatest feelings I have ever experienced and it still has not sank in,” he added.
New Chief Petty Officer Terrance Johnson, an Electronics Technician Submarines, had similar sentiments.
“The feeling prior to getting pinned with the anchors is as heavy as what they represent,” said Johnson.“The covering is the last thing that makes it official. It’s that culmination of the time that you put forth,and the work you did to get there, the best part of it is, as heavy as the anchors are, you aren’t the only one who holds them you have the help of the mess now, and that makes them extremely lighter.”