Service members from the tri-service Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) and Navy Operational Support Center - San Antonio, gathered at Joint Base San Antonio - Fort Sam Houston with friends and family members to welcome the 24 newest chief petty officers during a pinning ceremony, Sept. 16.
Advancing to chief petty officer (CPO) is a huge milestone in a Sailor's career, especially at the Navy Medicine Training Support Center (NMTSC), the Navy support element for METC, where the CPO core principles of training and leadership are passed on to junior Hospital Corps instructors and students alike.
"The word throughout the Navy is 'ask the chief,'" said retired Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Don Mason, a Navy Cross recipient who spoke at the ceremony. "Now you are the chief. Therefore it is imperative that you know your job. If you don't know, find out. I will always be extremely grateful to the Navy for teaching me skills and instilling in me the attributes that I have spoken to you about today."
After giving a brief history of some of his assignments and experiences in the Korean War, Mason advised those in attendance that chiefs must have leadership, dedication and professionalism.
Sailors spend their early career developing basic technical and supervisory skills to prepare them for senior leadership roles. After being selected for promotion to chief, they undergo an indoctrination process that instills a new sense of camaraderie and advanced leadership expertise.
"The pinning ceremony is the culmination of these last six weeks, which have been filled with intense preparation and hard work," Capt. Denise Smith, NMTSC commanding officer, said during the ceremony. "Phase II training focused on preparing each one of you for the position as a non-commissioned officer. In the Navy, E-7 carries unique additional responsibilities and has privileges that are not found in writing, but rather from the greater 200 years of naval history and heritage."
Chief petty officers are the backbone of the Navy as they mentor not only the junior enlisted ranks but junior officers as well. They are sought-after-experts in their field who ensure mission success.
"Now that you have received this status, you must live up to the new responsibilities and fulfill the expectations that others will have for you," said Mason. "This is both a joy and a burden. It will be your fellow chiefs you will turn to for advice or to blow off steam."
More than 4,000 new chiefs were pinned across the world, and Mason's words of advice apply to each of them.
"Make the most of your opportunities," he said. "Exceed the expectations of others, and make yourself a full partner in this exclusive group."
For more news from Navy Medicine Education and Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/