USS BOXER, at sea - Twelve Sailors proudly stood at attention in the hangar bay aboard amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) Sept. 16 as gold fouled anchors were pinned on their collars and combination covers were placed upon their heads for the first time in their Navy careers.
11 chief petty officer (CPO) selectees assigned to Boxer, and one selectee from embarked Amphibious Squadron ONE, were frocked while underway in the U.S. 7th fleet area of responsibility during a pinning a ceremony as part of a 118-year-old tradition unique to the Navy.
“In your future as a Chief Petty Officer, you will be forced to endure adversity far beyond that imposed upon you today,” Boxer Command Master Chief, Douglas Lattimer, said as he read the CPO creed during the ceremony. “You must face each challenge and adversity with the same dignity and good grace you’ve demonstrated today. By experience, by performance, and by testing, you have been this day advanced to Chief Petty Officer.”
After going through a five-week induction process, newly pinned CPOs became part of the “Deckplate Leadership” legacy that guides junior Sailors and establishes the foundation for today’s enlisted Navy.
“Being a deckplate deader means having good intentions for your Sailors and understanding the mission of our Navy,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman Genena Palacios. “Always stand up for your people and be honest with yourself and those you work with. Treat every Sailor as you would want to be treated. Respect their [Sailors] problems; they may seem trivial, but they’re important to them, and lastly always remember that even though we are all Sailors, we are still human beings and we need to be compassionate and have humility in our heart.”
With the pinning ceremony being the long awaited final step of the process to becoming a chief, these Sailors had a better understanding of what it means to be a chief.
“I look back at all the Chiefs that influenced my career and I think, now that’s me,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Nicholas Broders. “It’s a humbling feeling. I want to be someone my Sailors can look up to years to come from now. I always had a feeling in my heart that my time would come, I just didn’t know it would be so soon, and for that I am very grateful. I look forward to the challenge ahead and I look forward to molding my present and future Sailors into something even better than myself."
After the emotional ceremony, a reception was held where newly appointed chiefs had an opportunity to celebrate with their shipmates, sponsors and fellow chiefs, as well as taking a moment to reflect on their accomplishments.
“The only thing I can say with certainty is that I waited for this moment from the minute I put on my first chevron,” said Palacios. “As to why I was selected, I can honestly attribute it to the leadership I have been exposed to over the course of my career and to the commitment, hard work, sweat and tears of the Sailors I have had the humbling privilege to serve with and care for. So it is to them I owe this blessing.”
As a chapter of their Navy career comes to an end, these new chiefs will turn the page to a new phase, continue the CPO legacy and pass on Navy leadership, heritage and tradition to their Sailors.
“It was our intention that you never forget this day,” Lattimer said. “It was our intention to test you, to try you, and to accept you. Your performance has assured us that you will wear ‘the hat’ with the same pride as your comrades in arms before you. We take deep and sincere pleasure in clasping your hand, and accepting you as a chief petty officer in the United States Navy.”
Boxer is underway in the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations during a Western Pacific deployment.