News: Sailors receive their anchors, come aboard as chiefs
Story by Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A brass bell rang each new chief petty officer aboard Camp Lejeune. It was followed by a sharp salute and cheer from the audience as each sailor marched forward with anchors freshly pinned to the collar of his or her new khaki uniform.
The approximately 30 new chiefs on the base received their new ranks during a promotion ceremony here amidst family, friends and mentors, Sept. 13.
“The chief is the residential expert on heritage, technical knowledge and guiding principles – ‘ask the chief,’” said Master Chief Petty Officer Russell W. Folley, the command master chief of 2nd Marine Logistics Group. “[Promotion to chief] is the best day of a naval career.”
Petty officers first class must participate in the Chief Petty Officer 365, or CPO 365, before they can be selected for promotion to chief, one of the most difficult ranks to achieve in the military. Phase one of CPO 365 consists of physical training and classes to familiarize the sailors with the many aspects of Navy tradition.
“Every day of the year is aimed toward us getting ready to take on the role of chief petty officer,” said Chief Petty Officer Patrick McElhinney, now a chief hospital corpsman with 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd MLG. “[Phase one] is not really that difficult. It’s just an enlightening experience that teaches you how to move forward with your career.”
Phase two of CPO 365 begins when a petty officer first class is selected for promotion to chief. This stage is shaped to the specific responsibilities of a chief, rather than general leadership. While the first phase uses monthly meetings, phase two is a continuous six weeks of training.
“I think the process should be expanded to the lower ranks,” said McElhinney, a Silsbee, Texas, native. “It truly is a great process that teaches us all sorts of things about the military.”