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    Making Chief: Carrying Out a Family Legacy

    Chief Pinning Ceremony Aboard GHWB

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Montemarano | 180914-N-WX604-0426 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 14, 2018) Chief Yeoman Kaila Snaza receives...... read more read more

    ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 14, 2018) - “I had many moments where I thought I was going to get out of the Navy,” said newly frocked Chief Yeoman Kaila Snaza. “I feel like there are times where either you can conform or adapt to things, and I felt like I couldn’t adapt anymore. I felt like I was losing my sense of self. I made petty officer first class on my first attempt and took that as a sign saying ‘don’t cut yourself short because you feel like giving up right now.’”

    Snaza didn’t grow up believing her life would include a career in the Navy, despite being the daughter of Command Master Chief Gregg Snaza and the stepdaughter of retired Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Cheri Snaza.

    “It’s like this was a pre-planned way of life in a sense, but I had no intentions of joining the Navy when I was younger,” said Snaza. “I didn’t think it was the life choice I wanted to make. My parents, however, weren’t going to pay for school, so I thought, ‘well what am I going to do?’”

    With the goal of going to art school, Snaza, at 17 years old and in her senior year of high school, walked into a Navy recruiter’s office and made the choice to enlist.

    “I wholeheartedly feel the Navy is not for everybody, but the people who give it a chance show a form of bravery,” said Snaza. “You are doing something bigger than yourself, and you are doing something for others. I respect that.”

    Being selected for chief petty officer, in her mind, is the continuation of a tradition that her parents instilled in her growing up. Their advice as parents and shipmates allowed her to maintain a steady course in her career.

    “I feel like I have a sense of duty, not only to carry on my family’s career choices, but also make it my own, whether I become an officer or climb up the ranks to become a master chief petty officer,” said Snaza. “I want to leave a legacy behind like my parents did. I meet people who had the opportunity to work for my parents and hearing the stories about them motivates me.”

    Snaza spoke to her father daily until his passing three years ago. Pinning on her chief anchors is a proud moment for her, and she knows her father is proud as well.

    “He’s probably smiling every single day. He was always that reinforcement when I needed to get my act together,” said Snaza. “He’d ask, ‘what are you doing? What is your plan?’ the same thing you hear from your leadership, and I was even ‘shipmated’ a couple times.”

    “He could go from dad mode to master chief and say what needed to be heard,” added Snaza. “He never once stopped telling me to do more and to be involved in the command. My parents are like that, they never gave up on me when I wanted to give up on myself.”

    Snaza sees the Sailors around her, both junior and senior, as a family that takes care of one another and has taken care of her during her time in the service.

    “When you go through tough situations and you’re able to see what’s on the other side waiting for you, I believe your junior Sailors appreciate that,” said Snaza. “When you give back to them, they don’t give up, and I think our Navy can use those kinds of leaders—leaders who can provide no nonsense guidance and true testaments of when they struggled and see the personal side of things. It can’t always be about the mission, you have to reach people on a personal level.”

    As Snaza takes the next step of her naval career as a chief petty officer, she reflects on her time during initiation learning how to be a chief and earning her anchors.

    “The experience was eye-opening and not just professionally, but personally as well,” said Snaza. “I learned a lot about myself in terms of traits I’ve carried around and need to alter. I had to learn those things and decide to change them on my own. The biggest lesson we learned throughout the season was to be humble. You have to learn how to make things not just about yourself and your own goals, but make it about every Sailor around you. It’s about what I can give back to others. I didn’t get here by myself, I got here because of the leaders who never gave up on me and pushed me.”

    Snaza was passed for chief on her first attempt, but was selected her second time eligible. She says not making chief the first time was good for her because she did not believe she possessed the leadership skills yet to lead as a chief. She was forced to evaluate what she could work on and did so.

    “The thing I would tell anyone who gets selected, or is struggling personally or professionally to be selected, is to not change who you are. You are selected because of who you are, and your potential for the next rank.”

    Whether the lessons of being humble come from her parents, or 125 years ago from the days of the first chief, Snaza has become a piece of proud history, and a part of her enduring family legacy.



    Date Taken: 09.16.2018
    Date Posted: 09.19.2018 12:22
    Story ID: 293413
    Location: ATLANTIC OCEAN

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