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    Becoming the Chief: NTAG Houston Sailors Don Anchors for the First Time

    Houston Recruiter Dons Anchors

    Photo By Chief Petty Officer Joshua Keim | 210129-N-VH839-1031 (January 29, 2021) Chief Electronics Technician Samuel Gonzales,...... read more read more



    Story by Chief Petty Officer Joshua Keim 

    Navy Talent Acquisition Group Houston

    HOUSTON (NNS) – On January 29, 11 Sailors assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Houston set individualism aside and donned the coveted gold-fouled anchors for the first time becoming chief petty officers in the process.

    The pinning ceremony marks the culmination of nearly nine weeks of vigorous indoctrination and initiation into one of the most exclusive professional fellowships in the Navy – the Chiefs Mess. During initiation, dubbed the chiefs season, first class petty officers selected for chief are trained, mentored, and tested in leadership, core values, and an array of other professional and personal development areas before being, hopefully, accepted into the Chiefs Mess.

    “The season taught me to rely on the Chiefs Mess,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Jonathan Sanchez, a newly tried, tested and accepted chief in the NTAG Houston Chiefs Mess. “It taught me to understand that I am just one part of the bigger picture and that I need to trust the mess especially when situations are out of my control.”

    With the burgeoning of COVID-19 and its effects on the global population, this year’s chiefs season faced uncertainty and unique challenges at nearly every step. The pinning ceremony, typically adorned with the Navy’s finest decor with hundreds of gazing Sailors, friends and proud family members in the room, differed from any previous ceremony and featured extensive COVID-19 mitigation measures implemented to keep participants and spectators safe. Temperatures and health statuses were surveyed at the entrance to the room, face masks and social distancing were required wherever practical, no more than 10 people were allowed inside at any time, and the entire ceremony was viewed by hundreds, instead, online.

    “It’s an amazing feeling to get here through all the trials and tribulations,” said Chief Navy Counselor Stefan Hill, one of the newly pinned chiefs. “It just feels amazing. My grandmother’s prayers were answered.”

    Hill’s son, joined by a few other close relatives, was exuberant of his dad’s accomplishment.

    “It makes me feel happy that my dad’s dreams have come true,” his son said, grinning coyly.

    More than 45 NTAG Houston chiefs, led by the command master chief, worked in earnest to prepare the recently selected chiefs for their new roles in the Navy’s mission. It is a drop in the bucket to what is expected of one who wears the anchors; the rest is up to the bearer.

    “We’ve used the last eight or nine weeks to help these new chiefs understand the weight of the anchors they must now personify 24 hours a day,” said Command Master Chief Alex Rincones. “It’s a big ask, but it’s one their peers have seen in them and expect from them each day. They must now set the highest standards, be the example for their junior Sailors, and decide which kind of chief, leader and mentor they’re going to be. They have so much to give, and I expect them to pay it forward.”

    Despite the virtual evolutions and social distancing required at in-person events, the strong traditions and enduring reputation of the Chiefs Mess were not lost on the selected chiefs.

    “Being a chief means attaining the pinnacle level in my Navy career and being chosen and trusted among almost 1,400 first classes to help lead the future of the Navy,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman Kisha Wright. “It means that I am now entrusted to be the backbone of the Navy.”

    The history and traditions of the chief petty officer date back to 1893 and, each year, chiefs across the Navy work to uphold and instill the principles and observances the gold-fouled anchors represent.

    NTAG Houston has 34 Navy recruiting stations covering more than 44,000 square miles in rural and metropolitan areas around Houston and Western Louisiana. Follow NTAG Houston on Facebook (

    For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (, Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).



    Date Taken: 01.29.2021
    Date Posted: 02.04.2021 14:55
    Story ID: 388380
    Location: HOUSTON, TX, US 

    Web Views: 52
    Downloads: 0