Sasebo, Japan -- The boisterous strains of anchors aweigh heralded the arrival of USS Bonhomme Richard’s newest chiefs into the hangar bay of the US Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship. They marched in, proudly singing the anthem of their service and their legs rising smartly in step. Today was a day that marked the culmination of years of commitment and study, and weeks of induction. The great pride they felt was plainly visible on the faces of all the selectees.
The Fiscal Year 2016 Chief Pinning ceremony was held on board Bonhomme Richard Wednesday, September 16 in front of the crew and families.
“I am so honored and proud,” said Chief Gunner’s Mate LaRue Hendricks, from Chicago, Illinois. “I am anxious to get started in my new role as a Chief and put into practice all the insights I have gained through the induction process.”
It took more than pride to get the selectees this far, and it is those virtues that will serve them well in their new role as Chief Petty Officers.
“A Chief must be a subject matter expert in their field and must possess all the leadership skills necessary to lead Sailors from all rates,” said Bonhomme Richard’s Command Master Chief, Carlton Duncan. “They must possess confidence, resilience, maturity and discipline. The Sailors’ careers before selection, the training of the Chief Petty Officer 365 program (CPO 365) and the traditions of chief’s induction, will give these Sailor’s the confidence and skills they need to lead from the deck plates.”
It is not only the selectees who are excited.
“Just like Christmas, this is a most wonderful time of the year,” said Duncan. “The energy, passion and excitement hang in the air, and it is electric to see the pride and excitement in the eyes of these Sailors. It is a great honor to be involved in the growth of these Chiefs. They are on top of the world! Today is a day they will never forget.”
Chief Hendricks agrees.
“This is something I have wanted for 18 years,” said Hendricks. “I am thrilled to be a part of it. A part of history, a part of tradition, a part of heritage. To know the things that chiefs have done throughout history, and to be part of that, is an unexplainable feeling. To be a part of this group of brothers and sisters is amazing. I feel amazing.”
Bonhomme Richard is the lead ship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and is forward-deployed out of Sasebo, Japan in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.