Story by MC3 Kevin Murphy
Photo by MC2 Walter M. Wayman

Chief Petty Officers aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) welcomed 45 newly pinned Chiefs into their Mess Sept. 16.

After six weeks of early morning physical fitness sessions, extensive studying and an intense induction period, the new Chiefs shared their moment with current Chiefs and other Stennis Sailors during a ceremony held in the hangar bay.

Guest speaker, Cmdr. Nonito Blas, Chief Engineer aboard Stennis, who held the rank of Chief Electronics Technician before his commissioning in 1993, reminded the new Chiefs that they’re changing more than just their rank.

“By becoming a Chief, each of you is doing far more than simply pinning on anchors, changing your uniform, and donning a new cover,” said Blas. “Beyond these outward signs of transformation, you are internally transforming as well. You are accepting new responsibilities and new privileges ones that no other service grants, and ones that have been part of the Navy over 115 years.”

Stennis’ Commanding Officer Capt. Ronald Reis spoke during the ceremony, expressing his confidence in the newly pinned Chiefs and leaving them with a challenge.

“I challenge you all to be significant in everything and anything that you do,” said Reis. “Lead by example, strive to have a positive impact and bring about the best in yourself and others.”

Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Arthur Forsch II, from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112, who put his anchors on in 1989, gave advice to the future Chiefs.

“Trust the mess,” said Forsch. “You may find yourself in dangerous situations. Now as a Chief you may be assigned a new endeavor you find unsettling. The mess will help you navigate those waters; lean on the experience of others, trust the mess.”

When asked about the most difficult challenge of the transition from blue to khaki, newly pinned Chief Interior Communications Electrician Travis Jennings couldn’t pinpoint one specific example.

“It was equally challenging through the whole induction process,” said Jennings, “because everything we learned had a purpose. For many of the newly pinned Chiefs, this day marked a moment that we will never forget.”

“It’s one of the greatest days of my life,” said newly pinned Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/AW) Chantelle Trott. “It was an ultimate goal that we accomplished and what I look forward to the most is taking care of my Sailors.”

After receiving applause and shaking hands with Stennis crew members, the newly pinned Chiefs entered the Chiefs Mess in crisp khaki uniforms and gold fouled anchors on their collars to have their first meal as official members of the Goat Locker.

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