By the end of the day Friday, nearly 4,700 Sailors became Chief Petty Officers. The Navy has had Chiefs for 125 years. The Chief’s Mess is often referred to as a fraternity or brotherhood. While those terms may be used every now and then, the large number of women included in the group make the terms somewhat outdated. Still, the bonding in a fraternity or sorority still exists. The closeness that siblings share still exists.
I never reached that milestone in my career, but I am still always so proud when I see my shipmates reaching that pinnacle. So, today, I’ll share a few images from ceremonies around the world.
The first image is a friend of mine. When I met Lori, now Chief Petty Officer Lori Bent, we were both working at Defense Media Activity. She was a second class petty officer at the time. Then I moved on to work at the Defense Information School. Shortly before I retired, Lori arrived there as a first class petty officer. Her hard work and dedication helped her reach this milestone and I am so happy for her.
That is another woman I knew during my time in the Navy. I didn’t know her well, but I met her briefly, and we had a lot of friends in common. Chief Petty Officer Shannon Renfroe truly deserves this honor. Everyone I ever knew who knew her always spoke very highly of her.
Caption: Chief Logistics Specialist Suzette Loy, left, pins anchors onto Chief Logistics Specialist Josianne Thompson during a chief petty officer pinning ceremony at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. Sixty-eight Sailors from U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, Naval Support Activity Bahrain, and commands located throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility received their anchors. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samantha P. Montenegro/Released)
My favorite thing about that photo is the smile on her face. I also love that it is another woman pinning her anchors. I love seeing it passed from one woman to the next.
Caption: Chief Navy Counselor Colietha Alvarez receives her combination cover during the fiscal year 2019 chief petty officer pinning ceremony in the hangar bay aboard the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Fifty-two Sailors were pinned to the rank chief petty officer during the ceremony. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)
While I loved that a woman was doing the pinning in the second photo, I love this one because I feel like it represents her acceptance into the mess. None of these men care that she is a woman. They only care that she has proven herself to be a well-deserving Sailor, who earned her way into the mess.
Caption: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jay Chu stands at parade rest before her promotion to chief petty officer during a chief petty officer pinning ceremony at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin J. Steinberg/Released)
This group shot gives me warm fuzzies. I don’t know everyone in the photo, but I know several. I worked with many of these people while I was in the Navy. Everyone I do know in the photo is working at one of my last two duty stations. In the middle is Master Chief Petty Officer Mel Weatherspoon. She is an awesome master chief. The mass communication specialist rate has only six master chiefs, two of them being women. So, her achievement to be at the top of the pack is pretty great. Lori, from the first photo on this post, is right next to her. Second from the right in the second row is Chief Petty Officer Jennifer Blake. You may remember her from my first post about escorting a soldier home on her final journey. I’d love to say more about the people in this photo, but I’m trying really hard to keep this short.
Caption: Newly pinned chief petty officers stand before the audience upon completion of the FY2019 Chief Petty Officers Pinning Ceremony at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Dickinson/Released)
Overall, I’d like to say how proud I am of all the new Chief Petty Officers, both women and men. I am so happy for them. I am also so proud to have been part of the Navy, where men and women can now accomplish the same things. It wasn’t always this way, and I love seeing the progress we’ve made.
As with every other post, I’d love to hear from you. Yes, there are a lot of Navy posts, because I know the Navy, and I get a lot of information from them. So, I’d like to get some post suggestions from the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.