By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan — Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) recently promoted one of its senior enlisted managers to Chiefs to Warrant Officer.
Interior Communications Electrician Senior Chief Jeffrey Whittle was commissioned to Chief Warrant Officer Two (CWO2), Oct. 2. Officers, Chiefs, and distinguished guests from both Yokosuka and SRF-JRMC Detachment Sasebo gathered for his Commissioning Ceremony at the Chief Petty Officer Club at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka.
A combat systems specialist hailing from Bridgeton, New Jersey, Whittle provided Fleet Technical Assistance and worked on navigation and interior communications gear during his tour at SRF-JRMC. As a new CWO2, he looks forward to the opportunity to be impactful on a larger scale at his next tour duty. “I want nothing more than to help make the ships and Sailors I serve be the best they can be,” said Whittle. “Now, through greater billet diversity and scope of responsibility, I’ll be able to strive toward that.”
“What an honor and a privilege it is to be a guest speaker, your guest speaker,” said SRF-JRMC Executive Officer and Guest Speaker Capt. Edward Katz.
Katz also expressed gratitude for Whittle’s family, who were present at the ceremony:
“Today is your day, too. It’s mostly because of you that [Whittle] was able to perform hard enough and strong enough to gain the selection board approval. It’s also because of you that he earned the opportunity to lead Sailors and technicians from this new appointed position.
“Right now, as your Sailor prepares to take the oath, you once again unselfishly entrust him to our great nation,” added Katz.
“Thank you for all your sacrifices and thank you for encouraging him to take this new path in his career. You mean just as much to us as your Sailor.”
Whittle also reflected on another motivation for his success through the enlisted ranks: “failure.”
“I approach every situation by asking myself, ‘What can I do to fail?’” said Whittle. “If you can identify the things you can do to fail and then make the conscious effort to avoid them, then the only logical alternative is success.”
“I have no doubt that you are going to bring incredible energy, talent and commitment to our Navy, our Wardrooms, our Sailors and our Mustang Community,” said Katz. “I’d like you to remember, that there are young men and women out there maintaining their Combat Systems and standing the watch. And in a moment, you will assume responsibility for leading them. I know you are ready. Lead them well.”
Known as “the cream of the crop,” Chief Warrant Officers serve as the bridge between the enlisted Sailors and the commissioned officers. The Chief Warrant Officer belongs to a rich U.S. Navy tradition dating back to the late 18th century. When Congress created the Navy in 1775, it hired on Warrant Officers as the sailing masters, boatswains, gunners, carpenters, sailmakers and midshipmen. In 1910, Congress authorized the annual promotion of ten warrant officers to the rank of Ensign.
By 1948, the Navy realized that it often lost critical skills and knowledge that was learned as enlisted men or warrant officers when these individuals were promoted to commissioned status in the unrestricted line of community. For instance, the specialized talents and skills of a deck plate specialist would be wasted, because he might be assigned to an engineering billet as an unrestricted line officer. To retain their skills and to provide a fair competitive position for officers promoted from the ranks, the Limited Duty Officer Program was established.
According to Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) demographic survey, the number of Chief Warrant Officers, as of August 2015, accounts for 550 out of all the 54,455 Navy Officers.