PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Navy’s grade of chief petty officer (CPO) was officially established on Apr. 1, 1893, and is now celebrated on that date annually by Navy commands around the world.
On Apr. 1, 2022, all the chief petty officers stationed onboard Corry Station gathered at Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) headquarters for the morning colors ceremony in honor of the 129th birthday of the chief petty officer.
CIWT Command Master Chief Jason Thibodeaux explained that in the Navy, enlisted Sailors start at the apprentice level, progress through the journeyman level, and are recognized as having reached the master level when they are promoted to chief.
“When a Sailor has reached the level of chief, they have mastered the ability to be a true technical expert in their rating,” said Thibodeaux. “At this point they aren’t the one doing all the work, they take on more the role of a teacher.”
Rather than having a relatively small group with a mastery of their profession, chiefs are expected to take their level professional and technical knowledge, as well as their years of experience, and impart that into the apprentice and journeyman level Sailors to bring the Navy as a whole to a higher level.
Thibodeaux continued, saying that chiefs, as technical experts, are expected to look at all angles of the problems that commands are confronted with, analyze the data, and offer possible options or recommendations for their commanders based on their knowledge and experience.
“Another part of the heritage, and what makes a solid chief, is being able to have an honest conversation with your boss, ‘Hey sir or ma’am, what you are getting ready to do may not be the best course,’” said Thibodeaux. “Being open and honest in that conversation. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable telling someone that’s senior to you that we may not be putting our best foot forward, but the more time you spend doing that, the more comfortable you will get. Ultimately, you want them to do their best for the command, for the Navy, and for their Sailors.”
The CIWT and Corry Station chiefs will hold a dining-in this evening in Pensacola to officially celebrate the 129th birthday of the chief petty officer. Active duty and retired chiefs in the community have been invited to share in the comradery of the event.