JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA –
The Red Bank Club ballroom here was at full capacity on September 16, 2016 as fifteen Sailors achieved a significant milestone in their careers: promotion to Navy Chief Petty Officer.
The promotion ceremony, also called a “pinning” ceremony, welcomed the Sailors to the Lowcountry Chief’s Mess. Historically, the “Mess” referred to the separate living and dining areas on ships for the Navy Chiefs. However, over the years, the “Chief’s Mess” developed into a tight-knit, senior-enlisted organization directly impacting command policies and ensuring all Sailors have a voice.
The new Chief Petty Officers came from numerous small commands throughout the state including Naval Support Activity Charleston, Navy Operation Support Center Columbia and SEAL Team 18.
Created in 1893, the Navy Chief Petty Officer selection process, induction and promotion ceremonies are traditions unique to all of the armed forces.
“It’s been 123 years since the rank of Chief Petty Officer was created,” said Cmdr. William Edenbeck, Naval Support Activity Charleston’s Executive Officer, publicly addressing the selectees. “Today is another chapter in one of the oldest traditions of our Navy.”
The ceremony began with the customary parading of the colors, followed by a spirited rendition of “Anchors Aweigh” sung by the selectees as they marched into the room.
The new E-7s were pinned at the front of the room by friends and family members and were presented with new combination covers by other members of the Chief’s Mess. Aside from the new all-khaki uniforms, these chiefs also now proudly wear the gold anchor collar devices that have changed little over the years.
“Today’s ceremony is about more than just a gold anchor pin,” said Edenbeck, a Chief Petty Officer himself until his commissioning in 1999. “Those anchors tell all of us something very important. When times get tough you are there to rally the troops and motivate them to complete the mission. You understand your Sailors will have good days and bad and it is your responsibility to be firm but fair, demanding but compassionate, as each situation warrants.”
The newest chiefs joining the ranks are ready to pass on their leadership, expertise and traditions to the next generation of Sailors.
“Sailors will be looking to you, watching and listening to everything you say and do. It is up to you to display the high standard for them to follow,” said Edenbeck. “Those anchors and the title ‘Chief’ are daily reminders you must always be ready to answer the call and carry on the highest traditions and values of the United States Navy.”