Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Andre T. Richard

BREMERTON, Wash. – Several weeks of intense training cumulated in a morning of celebration as 20 new chief petty officers assigned to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) received their anchors during a pinning ceremony Sept. 16.

Capt. Michael Wettlaufer, Stennis’ commanding officer, served as guest speaker and stressed the importance of being a Navy chief.

“These Sailors are stepping up to lead,” said Wettlaufer. “They are charged with adding intensity and energy to the mess in order to translate initiative into action and action into success.”

Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Josh Hansen echoed Wettlaufer’s remarks.

“The chief’s world is different,” said Hansen. “[The new chiefs] now have greater responsibility and are entrusted to lead and mentor Sailors.”

Newly-pinned Chief Yeoman Kristin Zimmer, from Crystal River, Fla., said the hardest part of transitioning to a chief petty officer was adapting to the different types of personalities in the mess and working together toward a common goal.

“My advice for anyone striving to be chief is to never lose faith,” said Zimmer. “You’re always going to have obstacles; you just have to look ahead and overcome them.”

During the ceremony, the new chiefs wore khaki uniforms and combination covers for the first time signifying their acceptance into the chief’s mess.

“I cannot describe the feeling,” said Chief Engineman Eduardo Quintanilla, from Yakima, Wash. “It’s a great feeling to be in a new environment where I can assist Sailors and give them the tools they need to one day fill our shoes.”

Chief Machinist’s Mate Fernando Perez, from Sacramento, Calif., said it was great having his family present for his pinning.

“It was awesome having my wife and son here today,” said Perez. “I know I would not be here without their support.”

Stennis is currently undergoing a Docking Planned Incremental Availability maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

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