By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Burke,
USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Six Sailors were frocked to master chief petty officer during a ceremony in the Chief Petty Officers’ (CPO) Mess aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), May 3.
The newly pinned Ronanld Reagan master chiefs are Master Chief Electronics Technician (Nuclear) Anthony Burton, Master Chief Aerographer’s Mate James Green, Master Chief Electronics Techincian Debra Lee, Master Chief Electrician’s Mate Ernie Piol, Master Chief Logistics Specialist Hai Tran and Aircrew Survival Equipmentman Josh Turner.
“Becoming a chief and participating as a chief brings with it instant credibility, but it’s a whole new level and pinnicle point in one’s career when you can achieve master chief, ” said Capt. Michael Donnelly, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer. “I am really excited for these six individuals today. They have reached a marked accomplishment in their career and it’s really going to make us better here on Ronald Reagan. So, congratulations. I look forward to seeing you around the deckplates.”
According to United States Code Title 10, Section 517, only 1.25 percent of the U.S. Navy’s enlisted force can be master chiefs.
“Nobody gets here by themselves, ever,” said Turner. “It’s all about the commands I’ve been at, Sailors I’ve served with and the leaders I’ve had. I attribute every bit of it to them. So, I feel this is their promotion just as much as it is mine.”
Turner, the only active duty Aircrew Survival Equipmentman in the Navy selected for master chief this year, added he was surprised he was able to rise to the rank of master chief with only slightly more than 18 years of service.
“A wise old master chief told me when I was a petty officer 2nd class, ‘come to work, do your job and listen to those who have been there and done that before,’” said Turner. “I think that boded me well. So I tell all my Sailors, ‘know your job here, whatever it may be. Know and understand your job and strive to be the very best at it. No matter what you do, whether its on the Reagan or in the Navy, make it your mission to be the best and everything else falls into place.’”
Piol, who also attributed his success to the hard work of his fellow Sailors, stressed the importance of having a plan.
“Many people are able to say what they want to achieve, but don’t have a plan to get there,” said Piol. “It’s very important to make sure you set a goal, have a plan and make sure you have a mentor to help you along the way.”
Following the frocking, the newly frocked Sailors participated in a special cake cutting with family members, friends and ship’s company in the CPO Mess.
“I want to thank the Chiefs’ Mess and the Wardroom for their leadership and guidance,” said Piol. “I also want to thank the junior Sailors that I work for. They don’t work for me, I work for them. And lastly, I want to thank my family, my wife and kids because without them, I wouldn’t be here.”