Chief Petty Officer selectees take next step
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Local service members and residents gathered at the Marine Memorial Chapel to witness the promotion of five sailors to the rank of Chief Petty Officer at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Sept. 16, 2016.
Before pinning on the rank of chief petty officer, the sailors underwent a series of training where they volunteered time with the local community, fought through adversities and began to see the road ahead of them as chief petty officers.
“It was great to see them in their triumph over the training they’ve been through,” said Chief Petty Officer Proceso Mejia, aviation support detachment senior enlisted leader with the Aviation Support Detachment at MCAS Iwakuni. “They are ready for the next step. It is part of all the training they went through. The training proved they are ready to lead and will take what they learned and use it as they move forward.”
During the traditional ceremony, each sailor to be promoted had their cover placed on their head, finalizing the promotion.
“A lot of the tradition is about the cover,” said Mejia. “It covers half of their face so they can’t be seen as individuals. When you see a group of chief petty officers you can’t see who is who, but you know they are all chiefs. It’s about making everyone closer as a group and not individuals.”
The journey to being a chief petty officer isn’t the easiest and can present challenges along the way, but these sailors went above and beyond to triumph in their career.
“I didn’t see myself making it past four years,” said Chief Petty Officer Lamonica Harrison, chief hospital corpsman with MCAS Iwakuni’s base health clinic. “It was a struggle coming into the military, leaving family and making some of the sacrifices I did. Making it here took a lot, especially the six weeks of training we had. It really opened my eyes to what it actually takes to be a chief.”
Following the ceremony, the newly promoted chief petty officers duties’ are effective immediately within their commands.
“I have to focus on getting back to my sailors and pursuing my command’s mission,” said Harrison. “The over-all goal is to continue forward progress and hopefully that will lead me to some stars in the future.”
Now part of a group of renowned leaders, the newly promoted chief petty officers carry on the pride and traditions that have been embedded within the Navy.
“I’m proud of each of the sailors who pinned on chief petty officer today,” said Mejia. “They should be proud as well. This is something they will cherish for the rest of their life.”