SAN DIEGO – Chief petty officers aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) commemorated a time-honored naval tradition; 122 years since the Navy’s establishment of the chief petty officer (CPO) ranking.
CPOs gathered in the ship’s hangar bay for reflections and sea stories from the Commanding Officer and Command Master Chief.
“The job of the chief petty officer is not easy,” said Makin Island’s Command Master Chief Thomas Moore. “As deckplate leaders, it is your job to ensure that our ship and her crew are better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today. With ‘Progress’ being this year’s theme, I think this is what matters most.”
The rank of Chief Petty Officer was established April 1, 1893, and provided first class petty officers the opportunity to further advance in their career. Chiefs are responsible for the training, discipline, and recognition of Sailors under their guidance and serve as experts in their designated field.
“Being a Chief means everything to me,” said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (SW/AW) Burton Venaas, Makin Island’s Weapons department, G-3 divison, leading chief petty officer. “It was the most important day of my naval career when I found out I made Chief. It affords me the opportunity to ensure that the Navy’s Sailors are properly trained.”
At the beginning of the newly established Chief Petty Officer legacy, the new grade encompassed only nine ratings: master-at-arms, boatswain’s mate, quartermaster, gunner’s mate, machinist, carpenter’s mate, yeoman, apothecary and bandmasters.
“I’m proud to be among deckplate leaders who are responsible for upholding the traditions, pride, and heritage of the United States Navy,” said Chief Logistics Specialist (SW) Mario Orellano, Makin Island’s Supply department, S-1 divison, leading chief petty officer.
The Chief Petty Officer rank is a highly regarded naval career achievement with longstanding Navy tradition.
The pay grades of Senior Chief and Master Chief were created effective June 1, 1958, under a 1958 Amendment to the Career Compensation Act of 1949. Eligibility for promotion to the senior chief level was restricted to chiefs with a minimum of four years in grade and a total of ten years of service. For advancement from E-7 to E-9, a minimum of six years service as a chief petty officer with a total of 13 years service was required.
Commanding Officer Capt. Jon P. Rodgers recounted a few Chief Petty Officer sea stories during his career and the importance of the frank counsel and over-the-shoulder leadership that bridge the gap between the deckplates and the wardroom He concluded with a hearty, “Thanks, Chiefs. Happy Birthday!”
Makin Island recently returned from its second Western Pacific deployment and is moored at its homeport of Naval Base San Diego.