By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jamaal Liddell
PHILIPPINE SEA (Sept. 16, 2016) – Forty-two chief petty officers (CPO) were pinned and covered aboard the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), during a ceremony in the ship’s hangar bay Sept. 16.
The new chiefs joined the long line of those who have worn the anchors since the Navy created the rank in 1893. U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief Suz Whitman spoke as a special guest during the ceremony.
“I made chief on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) a long, long time ago,” Whitman said. “To come back here on a carrier for not only the final night, but the pinning ceremony, it’s an honor and a privilege, and I feel at home.”
The ceremony was the culmination of six weeks of training that began when the selectees were announced.
Carrier Air Wing 5 Command Master Chief Todd Wende delivered a reading from the Chief Petty Officer’s Creed.
“Your performance has assured us that you will wear the hat with the same pride as your comrades in arms before you,” Wende said. “We take a deep and sincere pleasure in clasping your hand and accepting you as a chief petty officer in the United States Navy.”
Becoming a CPO is considered an accomplishment by many Sailors, and one new chief in particular said he will remember the event as one of the pivotal moments in his career.
“It feels amazing,” said Chief Master-at-Arms Garret Chadek. “It’s the greatest day of my life.”
The new chiefs were pinned by current members of the chiefs’ mess, the same chiefs who helped them reach their latest milestone.
“It was an honor to put a cover on a new chief because of our relationship,” said Senior Chief Gunner’s Mate Terrance Wright, who helped pin the new chiefs. “He was like a little brother, but now he is a brother in the chiefs’ mess.”
Reagan’s newest chiefs will face a new set of challenges, but Whitman believes the past six weeks of training have been a testament to their will to succeed.
“It was a humbling experience to bring 42 new chief petty officers into the mess,” Whitman said. “I know they’re ready and up to the task.”