By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class(SW/AW) J. C. J. Stokes
USS Wasp (LHD 1) Public Affairs
NORFOLK, VA. – In a naval tradition which began over 119 years ago, with the birth of the rank of chief petty officer, a dual military couple made multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Wasp history by pinning anchors on each other in the ship’s hangar bay Sept. 14.
Wasp Chief Machinist’s Mate David Sthole and his wife Chief Machinist’s Mate Kristin Sthole, assigned to Navy Cargo Handling Battalion ELEVEN, in Jacksonville, Fla. pinned each other’s anchors at the ceremony.
“I was ecstatic when I received the call that I had been selected to participate in the chief’s selectee transition,” said newly pinned chief David Sthole. “Although, I was happy I was a little scared because I did not want to miss my wife’s surgery.”
After, reporting to Wasp to participate in the transition period Sthole, had found out some happy news. Not only had his wife surgery went well, but she too had been selected to participate in the FY13 chief selectee transition.
“I was truly happy that both my wife and I had been ‘picked up,’” said Sthole. “It was truly an awesome and humbling feeling. The only thing I could think about was how was I going to be able to make it to her ceremony if she is in Florida and my ship is slated to go underway?”
However, David Sthole did not know at the time that fate would be on his side. Both commands had approved the Stholes’ request of being able to pin each other.
“I thought it was a great idea,” said Wasp Command Master Chief Brian Schlicht. “When I received the Stholes’ request I thought it was interesting and unique. It is not often you see a husband and wife pin each other from different commands.”
On Sept. 13, then Chief (sel) Kristin Sthole reported to Wasp to finish up her transitioning period in order for them to be at each other’s pining ceremony.
“From the moment I heard I had been selected, I told myself no matter what my disability I was going to finish,” said Kristin Sthole. “When my husband told me he had been selected I was excited, I already had my ticket ready to be there for his ceremony. Then, when I found out I had been selected as well it was just overwhelming. I am honored to have been able to complete my remaining transition period aboard Wasp with my husband by my side. I am truly grateful for both commands for allowing this.”
For David Sthole seeing his wife come aboard Wasp to finish the transition period was a dream come true.
“Having my wife here to finish this transition together was definitely exciting and I am appreciative,” said David Sthole. “As my wife and I began putting each other’s anchors on I became a little emotional. This is proudest moment of my life with the exception of my wedding day.”
Kristin Stohle expressed similar feelings.
“This pinning ceremony I felt an indescribable amount of pride I had when I was pinning my husband’s anchors,” said Sthole. “Going through this transition, and being able to finish it in Norfolk with him was like a new commitment in our relationship.”
Since 1893, when the rank of chief petty officer was created, the men and women who wear their new anchors do so in a new position of leadership and responsibility to the Navy. The ceremony held aboard Wasp was a culmination of six weeks of training that began Navy-wide July 31, with the announcement of those 1st Class Petty Officers who were selected for advancement by the Navy's Chief Selection Board.