Fifty chief selects from the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group put on the rank of chief petty officer (CPO) during a ceremony in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Sept. 15.
The pinning took place in Nimitz’ Hangar Bay 2 in the Arabian Gulf Heat and comes at the end of a six-week training period known as CPO 365 Phase II that began when the chief results were released following the selection board. During this training phase senior enlisted leaders prepare the chief selects for the challenges of leadership and mentorship.
“The training was frustrating and testing at times,” said Chief Yeoman Kelli Bradshaw, one of the newly pinned chief petty officers aboard Nimitz from Waxahachie, Texas. “It definitely made us think outside the box. In the end it all paid off because we got the anchors and it’s going to help with future situations we will run into. The training prepared us for life as a chief petty officer.”
During the ceremony Capt. Kevin Lenox, commanding officer of Nimitz, Capt. Douglas Kunzman, commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9 and Nimitz’ Command Master Chief Jimmy Hailey spoke to the new chiefs on what lays ahead for them.
“Your entire way of life is now changed,” said Hailey. “More will be expected of you. More will be demanded of you; not because you are an E-7, but because you are now a chief petty officer. ‘Ask the chief’ is a household phrase in and out of the Navy, you are now the chief.”
Over the last six weeks, the chief select’s chose mentors and sponsors that would help them throughout the whole process and had a part in the milestone to pin on their anchor collar devices and place the CPO combination cover on their head signifying their transition to the rank of chief.
“It’s an honor to be able to teach, train, mentor and guide our new brothers and sisters,” said Chief Legalman Misty Masters, from Fond Du Lac, Wis., and a sponsor for one of the newly pinned chiefs. “As a sponsor you create a special bond with them because you’re with them for everything. You’re with them every step of the way and watching them be accepted as a chief is phenomenal.”
The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group consists of Nimitz, DESRON 9, Carrier Air Wing 11 and Carrier Strike Group 11.
Nimitz is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. While in this region, the ship and strike group are conducting maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation, and maintain the free flow of commerce.
USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Public Affairs