ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Five Sailors advanced to the rank of chief petty officer (CPO) aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) during a CPO pinning ceremony on the ship's forecastle Sept. 16.
Princeton's newest chief petty officers are: Chief Personnel Specialist Melvin Azofeifa, from Tampa, Florida, Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) Carlos Feliz, from New York, Chief Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) Joseph Mandler, from Las Vegas, Chief Boatswain's Mate Shane Slater, from Middleberg, New York, and Chief Quartermaster Bradley Barber, from Orlando, Florida.
"I humbly stand before you today as the command master chief and welcome the newest chief petty officers," said Command Master Chief David Jaynes. "Our Navy has relied on the chief petty officer for more than 100 years. The chief petty officer personifies experience, competence, credibility and professionalism. Chiefs, it is up to you and the entire Chiefs Mess to continue to set the tone."
After learning of their promotion the first week of August, the five new chief petty officers participated in a rigorous six-week training period known as CPO 365 Phase II. During the training the selectees were presented challenges designed to strengthen their leadership skills and to provide a better understanding of what it means to be a Navy chief. They also learned the history and traditions of the Chiefs Mess.
"CPO 365 Phase II is to train prospective chief petty officers to be confident, competent, capable deckplate leaders and to have the right balance of concern for Sailors and mission focus for our ever evolving Navy," said Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Maurice Stigger, from Chicago. "CPO 365 Phase II training should test prospective chief petty officers physically, mentally and instill the traditions and heritage of 124 years of excellence. Additionally, as naval professionals and military leaders, sound and ethical decision making is a requirement to be an effective chief petty officer"
This year's theme for Princeton's FY-18 Phase II season was prioritization and accountability, said Stigger. According to the Chiefs Mess aboard the ship, those are traits all leaders should try to improve on every single day in the Navy.
A highlight of the ceremony was when Jaynes surprised the newly promoted chiefs by reading encouraging words sent from their family members.
"It was a nice personal touch from home," said Slater. "I wanted them to be there on this important day. Having them send those words to CMC was a heartfelt moment."
Princeton's Commanding Officer Capt. Justin A. Kubu, from Anderson, S.C., took the podium and addressed the newly appointed chief petty officers to close the ceremony.
"We entrust the chiefs with the development and mentorship of America's finest men and women," said Kubu. "They will come to you because of the experience you have, mentorship you provide, and the professionalism and honesty you exhibit each and every day. This is a large burden to bear, and it will be hard, but that is why the chief petty officer is revered in our Navy and unique among all of the services."
Princeton is currently deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners, and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.
For more information about Princeton, visit http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/cg59/Pages/default.aspx
For more information about Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, visit http://www.nimitz.navy.mil/csg_11.html
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