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Monterey Chiefs Celebrate 125th Birthday
U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Michael Ehrlich

Monterey Chiefs Celebrate 125th Birthday

By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Senior Enlisted Leader Master Chief John. D. Cawthorne, left, and IWTC staff member Chief Michael F. Haggerty cut a ceremonial birthday cake honoring the 125th birthday of the Chief Petty Officer during a celebration in Herrmann Hall’s Tower Room, April 3.

“As we celebrate our heritage with good grace, we reflect on and honor the expertise, grit and devotion of those who wore anchors before us,” said NPS Flag Administration Senior Enlisted Advisor Senior Chief Richard Hill. “They shaped the Chief Petty Officer rate into the time honored respected and revered fellowship simply known today as ‘The Mess,’ recognized worldwide for its distinct leadership in accomplishing the Navy’s mission.”

The rank of chief as it is recognized today was officially established April 1, 1983, and with the exception of schoolmasters, ships’ writers and carpenters’ mates, all petty officers of the first class were automatically shifted to the new rank. This originally encompassed nine ratings: chief master-at-arms, chief boatswain’s mate, chief quartermaster, chief gunner’s mate, chief machinist, chief carpenter’s mate, chief yeoman, apothecary and band master.

“Since the days of antiquity, highly-skilled seamen have been prized for their knowledge and skill,” said NPS Electrical and Computer Engineering Leading Chief Petty Officer Veronica Mikulewicz. “As vessels grew more complex, duties began to split into different responsibilities, which evolved into a rating system that was first formally organized by the British Royal Navy and later adopted by the U.S. Navy.”

The mess shared stories on how they were inspired by chiefs before them to continue the tradition to be deckplate leaders for the Navy. Hill also shared this message from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven S. Giordano.

“Today is not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about us,” Giordano’s message read. “It’s about what we, Chief Petty Officers past and present have done together across generations of service. It’s about what we continue to do for our Navy as visible, competent, and confidently humble Chief Petty Officers dedicated in leading our Navy team forward in becoming more capable and lethal every day.”

Giordano continued his message, citing these inspirational words from Fleet Admiral Frederick “Bull” Halsey. “Always remember that, as Admiral Halsey was once quoted as saying, ‘You think those ships float on water? You are wrong, they are carried to sea on the backs of Chief Petty Officers.’” Happy Birthday Chiefs!”


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April 2018

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