Fifty New Chiefs Pinned Aboard NAS Lemoore
By Tammy Eskew
Fifty Naval Air Station Lemoore (NASL) Sailors received their golden anchors during a pinning ceremony on Sept. 14. The ceremony marked a significant milestone for the 46 men and four women who were advanced to Chief Petty Officer (CPO).
“Team 119, Congratulations on your outstanding achievement! You have been selected from a peer group of highly qualified, highly motivated professionals and are the best of the best,” said Capt. Eric Venema, commanding officer of NASL. “The Navy is entrusting you with the good stewardship of our national treasure, the men and women of our ranks. Lead them well.”
The base theater was filled to capacity as friends, loved ones, neighbors and family members gathered in support of their CPO Selectee. The ceremony began as the Selectees marched into the theater singing “Anchors Aweigh.” Adorned across the stage were homemade wooden boxes (vessels) that contained the charge books that each newly appointed CPO was tasked with building.
“The ceremony today is steeped in naval tradition and is a culmination of a career of hard work and determination. The ceremony is a pinnacle of six weeks of intense training to prepare them to wear the anchors of CPO. This is a day they will never forget,” said master of ceremony Senior Chief Builder Carl Peltier, officer in charge of Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 303 detachment Lemoore.
The CPO induction training program was facilitated by the NASL CPO Mess and focused on leadership, teamwork, time management, Naval heritage, and organizational and personnel management skills.
Several of the Chief Selectees recently returned home from an eight-month deployment on board the USS Abraham Lincoln before being immersed into the CPO induction training.
“It was a long road that began on board the boat and finished here today. The journey was long, but worth it every step of the way,” said newly pinned Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Jose Franco of Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2).
During the ceremony, family members and CPO mentors pinned on two gold-fouled anchors to each newly appointed chief’s uniform and placed the cover on top of their heads to symbolize the induction into the Chief Petty Officer Mess.
“This is so exciting and feels great. My mother is here from Las Vegas and my little daughter pinned on one of my anchors. This is such a proud moment,” said Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Carlos Arroyo of VFA-2.
Chiefs in the United States Navy wear the fouled anchors to symbolize that they are the ones who secure and hold the Navy family together. Chief Logistics Specialist Jeremy Evans, who was pinned in 2007, and his newly pinned spouse, Chief Aviation Maintenance Admistrationman Katrina Evans, knows all too well the importance of family, both their own and their Navy family. Together, they have served their country 33 years.
“Today is 14 years of my mess pushing me hard. It is one of the best days of my life,” said Chief Katrina Evans.
The dual military couple are the proud parents of two daughters Kayla, 9 and Layla, 3. For them, the pinning ceremony was filled with emotion and brought back many memories. They were both pinned by Senior Chief Air Traffic Controller Daniel Miller.
However, the question remains who has the better charge book? The answer. “I do,” said the Chiefs with a smile.
Advancement to the rank of Chief Petty Officer is the most significant promotion within the enlisted naval ranks. Chief Petty Officers serve a dual role as both technical experts and as leaders, with more of an emphasis on leadership as they progress through the CPO ranks.
“By experience, by performance and by testing, you have been this day advanced to Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy. It was our intention to test you, to try you, and to accept you. Your performance has assured us that you will wear 'the hat' with the same pride as your comrades in arms before you. We take a deep and sincere pleasure in clasping your hand, and accepting you as a Chief Petty officer in the United States Navy,” said NASL Command Master Chief, Lloyd Hamilton, who read the CPO Creed and proudly introduced the newly appointed CPO’s to a roaring crowd of well wishers.