Newly pinned chief petty officers are presented to Stennis’ crew after a chief petty officer pinning ceremony. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josue Escobosa.)

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin Murphy

In fraternities people hear about hazing,
in the mafia it is rumored that prospective
made men share their blood with other
members, but rarely is the induction
process of new Navy chiefs mentioned to the general public.

Sixteen 1st class petty officers were selected to become chief petty officers Aug. 12. That same day, they began their induction into the chiefs mess, and the transformation from blue shirt to khaki  commenced.

Although chiefs cling to tradition, the induction process has changed throughout the years. Chiefs now emphasize training and no longer make selectees endure “senseless acts” of initiation, said Senior Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician (AW/SW) Michael Monserrat, induction triad member.

“The U.S. Navy is the only service that makes a clear distinction from E-6 to E-7. It is a time-honored tradition and proud accomplishment for these Sailors,” said Monserrat. “It is just the beginning of a long road and a continuing learning process. More is expected of them now that they have been selected to be chiefs.”

“I heard it is a crazy and intense introduction into the rank,” said Interior Communications Electrician Fireman Ian Barb. “I want to know how chiefs treat the new inductees. I mean, they made chief, but do they make them go get their coffee and all that?”

Among junior Sailors, not much is known about the induction process; chiefs like to keep it a secret so inductees don’t anticipate the process, which makes the training more effective.

“It’s about perception. We train our own khaki,” said Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) (AW/SW) Sammy Montero. “We want to train them without interference from the outside, so we can train them in the best way we see fit. It is a secret because it is steeped in tradition.”

However, the chiefs mess has revealed that part of the induction is aimed at unity and training; it’s designed to instill in the selectees that
they now have new resources to become better leaders on the deckplates.

“We break things down to basics, help them become emotionally invested in their jobs and teach them that they are counted on to ensure the safety and welfare of their Sailors,” said Monserrat. “They will learn to live up to the tradition of the chief petty officers that have come before them to continue the relationship between chiefs and their Sailors.”

In order to build unity, the selectees physically train (PT) with current chief petty officers. These PT sessions are conducted to get selectees into better shape and build camaraderie.

Selectees also get a personal mentor. They chose a chief, who will guide
them and set the example of what it means to wear the anchors.

The selectees go through classroom training where they are instructed in how to conduct disciplinary review boards, career development boards and maintain division records.

“It is a life-altering experience we have to go through, and one of the proudest moments of my life,” said Chief Select Fire Controlman (SW/AW) Jason May. “I justhope that my Sailors are proud of me, and I want to add that all the selectees want to thank everyone that helped us get to this point in our careers.”

At the end of the process, the selectees will receive their gold-fouled anchors and be officially welcomed into the chiefs mess.

“The pinning will be something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives,” said Monserrat. “They will have to build up and take care of their Sailors, and they will remember that their Sailors come first.”

The induction process is a secret only known to those who are going or have gone through it, so if Sailors want to know what happens, they must earn that right.