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By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa
New Chief’s from twelve different commands in the European region, including U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) and U.S. Sixth Fleet, earned their gold-fouled anchors during a Chief Petty Officer pinning ceremony at the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples Chapel, Oct. 21, 2022.
The Chief Petty Officer rank (E-7), unique to the Navy, was issued through executive order by President Benjamin Harris on April 1, 1893. This order formalized a tradition whereby the senior, most experienced, rated Sailor was known as the "Chief,” designated by the commanding officer as the one in charge of his peers.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. Sixth Fleet Staff Command Master Chief Ben Hodges served as the pinning ceremony’s guest speaker. Along with taking the opportunity to thank families, friends, colleagues and mentors of the new group of Chiefs, he offered guidance and insight into what the they should expect in their new role.
“You are charged with a leadership role like no other in the world,” said Hodges. “Set the example, establish the standards of performance, guide and influence the lives of these young men and women. Be the example on purpose.”
Hodges stressed the importance of a changed mindset – as a Chief, they are no longer judged solely by their performance, but the performance of their team.
“Your legacy is not owned by your actions, but the actions of those you train,” said Hodges. “That Ensign you take time to develop into a great division officer is the future fleet commander. That seaman, airman, or fireman that you allow to struggle, but learn, is the future master Chief petty officer of the navy.”
For the new Chiefs, the ceremony marked the completion of a six-week induction process, often referred to as the “season of pride.” This induction culminated with CPO 365 Phase II training, which introduced new challenges designed to strengthen and enhance “deckplate” leadership. The Chief petty officer creed, sworn to by new Chief’s following this season, states that following their induction, their “entire way of life is changed. More will be expected of you; more will be demanded of you. Not because you are an E7, but because you are now a Chief petty officer… This is why we in the United States Navy may maintain with pride our feelings of accomplishment once we have attained the position of Chief petty officer.”
One of this year’s newly pinned Chiefs, Chief Construction Mechanic Joshua Duty, reminisced on what it took to become a Chief, and what he learned from the season of pride.
“The last 17 years have been a journey,” said Duty. “A lot of people have come through and put the wisdom and knowledge into me, and it’s finally come to fruition this year. I know firsthand that if you persevere and continue pursuing your goals, they will happen.”
He also referenced what he learned during the season of pride.
“Working together as a team can be tough sometimes, but it’s important to come together for a common goal,” he said. “Take those challenges in stride, with humility, and that will help you understand when it’s necessary to lead and when to follow.”
Of special note, a special reunion occurred during the ceremony – Duty’s brother, Master Chief Corpsman Jason Duty watched as his brother donned the anchor.
“It’s hard to describe how proud and exponentially happy I am for him, even more so than when I made Chief, simply because he’s deserved it for a very long time,” said Jason Duty. “He’s been working very hard for it and it’ been a long time coming for him. To see it culminate last night during final acceptance and today during pinning has been an amazing feeling. The initiation process, although it’s gone through many names through the past couple decades, is not only a time honored tradition, but important as it will continue to teach life lessons for years to come. Even myself, I’ve been in the Mess for more than ten years, but every Chief season I continue to learn things from everyone involved.”
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.