Strength in the ‘Mess’

Hawaii-area chief petty officers and first class petty officers participate in an obstacle course relay race during a physical training mess competition held to celebrate the 125th birthday of the chief petty officer rank.

Navy chief petty officers celebrate 125th birthday

Story and photo by MC2 Justin Pacheco

Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii

Hawaii area chief petty officers (CPOs) and first class petty officers came together this week to take part in various pride and heritage events held to commemorate the 125th birthday of the United States Navy chief petty officer.

This year’s theme is “Strength in the Mess; Forged by the Creed.”

On April 1, 1893, Navy General Order 409 established the rank of CPO in the Navy as the highest rate an enlisted Sailor could earn, shepherding in a legacy of heritage in the U.S. Navy and providing junior Sailors with a new breed of leadership.

“The best advice I can give new and aspiring chiefs is to take care of your Sailors,” said Chief Culinary Specialist Cynthia Lynn Cruz. “They’re your biggest assets, so be honest with them. Communicate with them. They’re the ones who are going to get you where you need to be.”

Since the day it was created, the rank is celebrated every year to honor the service of chief petty officers who commit to mentoring their junior Sailors and instilling in them the Navy core values of honor, courage, and commitment.

Command Senior Chief Melissa Ochoa , w h o helped facilitate this year’s events, also had advice for new and future chiefs who hope to lead with responsibility and by example with loyalty, pride, and character.

“Nothing is carved in stone, and you can change anything in your life if you want it badly enough,” Ochoa said. “Those who take responsibility for their actions are the real winners in life. Winners meet life challenges head on, knowing there are no guarantees, and give all they’ve got. Never think it’s too late or early to begin, time plays no favorites and will pass whether you act or not.”

CPOs on Oahu celebrated the birth of their rank with events including a wreath laying aboard the USS Arizona Memorial, a “best of the mess” physical training competition, a community outreach event at Tripler Army Medical Center’s community living center, a CPO scholarship fund invitational golf tournament, and an observance of morning colors aboard USS Missouri. The week culminates with the 125th CPO Birthday Ball.

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Category: FeaturedNews