NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE CORONADO (April 2, 2019) -- The Chief’s Mess at Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S Pacific Fleet (CNSP) celebrated the 126th birthday of Navy chief petty officers (CPO), April 2.
The khaki-clad CNSP chiefs formed ranks as Vice Adm. Rich Brown, an honorary CPO, spoke about how chief petty officers have been the backbone of the Navy and a key to his development as a naval officer.
“Since 1893, chiefs have taken on the task of molding and mentoring young Sailors and junior officers,” said Brown. “Without the guidance of my first chief, I doubt I would have made it this far in my career. Chief Janise and Chief Zachary got me qualified and made sure I had the best division on the ship. They made sure I earned the best FITREPs. I reveled in their success, and they reveled in mine.”
The rate of CPO was officially established April 1, 1893, by Navy General Order 409. CPOs have been charged to serve as technical experts, train Sailors, develop junior officers, and serve as trusted advisors to all officers in leadership positions.
In his remarks, Brown recounted a story about Adm. William “Bull” Halsey and his appreciation for the Chiefs Mess. In the story, Halsey was honored by the city of Los Angeles and departed the ceremony through sideboys consisting of active duty and retired chief petty officers. As Halsey walked through the ranks, he approached one old chief and they winked at each other.
At the following reception, a guest asked about the wink to which Halsey responded, “that man was my chief when I was an ensign and no one before or after taught me as much about ships or men as he did. You civilians don’t understand. You go down to Long Beach, see those battleships sitting there, and you think that they float on the water, don’t you? Well, you are wrong! Those ships are carried to sea on the backs of chief petty officers.”
Unlike any other enlisted rank, advancement to chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy not only carries requirements of time in service, superior evaluation scores, and specialty examinations, but also carries an added requirement of a selection board of serving master chief petty officers.
Achieving the rank of chief is inherently difficult and stands out among all branches of service for the tight-knit fellowship that goes with it.
“I am honored and humbled to have served as a chief petty officer since 1995,” said Force Master Chief James Osborne, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “The Chief’s Mess has provided leadership, mentorship, experience and guidance to the fleet for the past 126 years. Continue to be the humble servant leaders, do your part, and set the example for a culture of excellence. Happy birthday, chiefs.”
The ceremony closed with the youngest, Chief Personnel Specialist Given Perez, and the oldest, Master Chief Dendee Caniban, CNSP chiefs and Brown performing a cake cutting. Afterward, the Chiefs Mess served food and refreshments to the staff.
The mission of CNSP is to man, train, and equip the Surface Force to provide Fleet Commanders with credible naval power to control the sea and project power ashore.
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