SAN DIEGO - The Lang family has a long tradition of naval service. Ramon and Daniel Lang joined the Navy two years apart. Their separate career paths have taken the brothers to different locations around the globe. Friday however, the two San Diego natives, their family and their careers were able to all come together in their hometown.
Chief Culinary Specialist Ramon M. Lang and Chief Hospital Corpsman Daniel C. Lang pinned each other's anchors on simultaneously, while their proud father donned their Chief's combination covers in a ceremony held in the hangar bay of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), Sept 14.
"Any time you have an opportunity to promote someone to Chief Petty Officer, it is a good feeling. I think it is great that the Lang brothers have an opportunity to be pinned together with their father (a retired Sailor) present," said USS Boxer Command Master Chief Douglas Lattimer. "That in addition to San Diego being their hometown makes what would be an excellent day already much more special."
The younger Lang, Ramon, is stationed aboard Boxer. He says he looked up to his brother when he joined, but the family influence runs even deeper than that. They had an uncle they both looked up to who was a Chief, and their father retired from the Navy doing the same job Ramon chose to do.
"When I was younger, I would always watch him cook, my dad, and that's why I chose...Culinary Specialist," he said.
The senior Lang brother, Daniel is stationed at Camp Pendleton, and shortly after he received the news that he had made Chief, he got a text from his brother.
"I think anybody with a sibling would want to have something like this happen to them," said Daniel Lang. "I mean, what are the odds of two brothers, a little over a year apart, striving for the same goal, getting selected at the same time...I don't know who could want anything more besides that."
Ramon says the induction process has been a real eye opener. "I think what's different about Chief is just the overall responsibility, just going through induction, the pride," he said. "It's not about the money, it's about being a Chief, leading your people, taking care of your Sailors."
With Daniel being forward deployed to Japan or deployed to Afghanistan, or Ramon deployed to Iraq, the Lang brothers were often geographically far away, but they always spoke frequently and remained close. "We're very proud of each other, we love each other very much, we'd do anything for each other," Ramon said. "You know it's that brother-to-brother relationship, it's special."
The road to Chief was not without hardships for the Lang brothers, but Ramon said Daniel was there to help him when things got tough. "I talked about at one time giving up, I thought I was going to retire as a First Class...and he pushed me, he said 'don't ever give up, this is our dream from when we were kids'," he said.
That dream has its roots in their childhood experiences with their uncle.
"We always saw that respect he got from his friends at his house and we always wondered why they called him 'the Chief' and when we got older we understood, hey, he was a Chief in the United States Navy, and we always wanted to be like that," said Ramon.
"The Lang brothers will be a welcome addition to the CPO mess. Completing the season and donning the uniform of a Chief Petty Officer together will forever be a part of theirs and their families' lives," said Chief Yeoman Michael E. Trisler, Ramon's sponsor. "My proudest moment with the Chief Selects was during their participation in CPO Pride Day on Sept. 5. Seeing them work together during their cadence competition and present themselves to the San Diego Community Chief Petty Officer Messes instilled in them the support and bond Chief Petty Officers have for one another," he added.
When asked if he had any advice for future Chiefs, Ramon said "It's hard work, it's tough work. Just do the right thing. If you do the right thing while you're in the Navy, you're going to make it."