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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Heidi Cheek
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) and U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) celebrated the 130th birthday of the U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, onboard U.S. Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, on March 29, 2023.
The celebration, hosted the day before the Chief Petty Officer birthday on April 1, consisted of a dawn observation of colors by Chief’s throughout the region, and a ceremony to reflect on the contributions of Chief’s.
U.S. Navy. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) James M. Honea reflected on what it means to be a Chief in the United States Navy, saying, “I am honored to be counted among our United States Navy Chief Petty Officers. Today is not about being privileged, but having the privilege to serve in this capacity and uphold the responsibilities of leading, mentoring and developing our Sailors into the lethal combat teams that we are.”
Since the inception of the Chiefs Mess in 1893, Chiefs have been charged with leading both officers and enlisted Sailors in the fleet. The instantly recognizable and long-standing emblem of the Chief is a fouled anchor - the chain entangled around the anchor- symbolizing the trials and tribulations a Chief will inevitably go through while leading Sailors. The chain also symbolizes strength and teamwork in that each link holds tightly to the next one - ensuring no one person becomes the weak link.
‘Navy Chief, Navy Pride,’ is the unofficial motto of the U.S. Navy Chief’s Mess, symbolizes their dedication to lead from the front, and meet each challenging situation with resourcefulness – a sentiment reflected by NAVEUR-NAVAF Fleet Master Chief Johannes J. Gonzalez during a broadcast to Chief’s throughout Europe and Africa.
“Thank you and your families for 130 years of your dedicated leadership,” said Gonzalez. “Thank you for continuing to make our Navy run, and to keep building teams that will out-think our adversaries. Your investment in our people, and the trust you build within our teams, allows us to gain warfighting advantage. Happy Birthday Chiefs! Navy Chief, Navy Pride!”
For more than 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.