Chief selectees in a time of COVID-19

U.S. Navy photo by Taylor Curry
U.S. Navy photo by Taylor Curry

Chief selectees in a time of COVID-19

by Emiley Murphy
Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka

(YOKOSUKA, JAPAN) – Six new chief petty officers were advanced to their new paygrade and joined the chiefs mess onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) during a pinning ceremony, Jan. 29.

The newest members to the CFAY chiefs mess are Chief Culinary Specialist Chastity Eastland, Chief Master-at-Arms Deandre Forbes, Chief Retail Specialist Herbert Martinez, Chief Interior Communications Electrician Jonathan McCauley, Chief Engineman Jayson Munsayac, and Chief Master-at Arms Dallas Hermsen.

“COVID was a challenging issue in making [the ceremony] a good event,” said Chief Master-at-Arms Clay Harville who coordinated the pinning ceremony. “We still wanted to make lasting memories and get good photographs and celebrate all the hard work [the chief petty officer selectees] put in, not just during the season but in their careers. There were so many people directly involved in the season. It was amazing that so many different people and organizations came together to make a good event for the selectees.”

This year’s ceremony was anything but typical for the chief season due to the ongoing global pandemic. Announced with a naval message from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith in July 2020, the chief season was moved to December with a pinning date to be scheduled at the end of January, 2021.

Unlike in previous years, this season had its share of challenges, from virtual training to a holiday leave period. These obstacles required creative thinking from the chiefs mess as they worked to create a season anchored in years of tradition and training, while simultaneously navigating an unprecedented health crisis.

In previous years, the chief selectees of Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) would have spent six weeks participating in intense physical and mental training, and taking part in experiences unique to the region. These local traditions, such as a climbing trip to Mt. Fuji and a historical visit to Iwo Jima in participation with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Yokosuka District’s chief petty officer mess, could not be included this year.

“Due to COVID-19, physical training [a normal part of chief select season] hasn’t been possible, and we’ve instead relied heavily on pointed and laser-focused training and tasking to ensure the integrity of the process remains intact,” said Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate Anjian Deng, one of this season’s lead chief petty officers. “Using digital means has been a blessing in accomplishing the core of the training necessary to build trust and competence in our new chiefs. We've also incorporated more scenario-based tasks to give the selects a taste of what's to come with taking care of their future Sailors.”

The CFAY chiefs mess was hard at work creating a training environment that followed tradition while also being mindful of the current global pandemic.

“The chief season is a time-honored tradition that upholds our values as chief petty officers, builds the relationships between the newly-selected and the mess, [and guides them] in the ways of humble leadership with heartfelt care, said Deng.

Additionally, in past seasons, CFAY’s chief petty officer pinning ceremony included selectees from the installation’s tenant commands, friends, family, various officials and ceremony participants. This year, however, each command held separate ceremonies.

As the Chief Petty Officer Creed states, “Our intent was to impress upon you that challenge is good; a great and necessary reality which cannot mar you – which, in fact, strengthens you … You must face each challenge and adversity with the same dignity and good grace you have already demonstrated”.

We congratulate the CFAY chiefs mess for rising to the challenge and completing a job well done, and say “Bravo Zulu” to our newest chiefs.
For more than 75 years, CFAY has provided, maintained and operated base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet's forward-deployed naval forces, tenant commands, and thousands of military and civilian personnel and their families.

 

Photo Caption:
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Jan. 29, 2021) – Chief Retail Services Specialist Herbert Martinez, assigned to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY), poses for a photo with his family after advancing to the rank of chief petty officer during a pinning ceremony at the CFAY Fleet Theater Jan. 29, 2021. For more than 75 years, CFAY has provided, maintained, and operated base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th fleet's forward-deployed naval forces, tenant commands, and thousands of military and civilian personnel and their families.

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