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    Chiefs Celebrate 128 Years of Heritage

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Celebrates 128th CPO Birthday

    Photo By Senior Chief Petty Officer Ryan Wilber | Norfolk, Va. (April 1, 2021) USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) Commanding Officer Capt....... read more read more



    Story by Seaman Jackson Adkins 

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)

    Chiefs Celebrate 128 Years of Heritage
    By Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Jackson Adkins
    USS Gerald R. Ford's Public Affairs
    NORFOLK, Va. - Since 1893, chief petty officers (CPO) have freely accepted responsibilities beyond that of printed assignment, unlike any other enlisted person in the U.S. military. The chiefs aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) came together in the Chief's Mess to celebrate 128 years of heritage, tradition and leadership, April 1, 2021.
    During the celebration, the success of junior Sailors was emphasized as something that weighs tremendously on the chief's mess, and that the same duties and responsibilities of chiefs that shaped the Navy 128 years ago are the same responsibilities that shape today's Navy.
    "Chiefs are the backbone of the United States Navy, said Ford's Command Master Chief Deandre Beaufort. I want you to make today a great day, but carry this leadership, this tenacity, this honor, this integrity and courage every day. Remember, as 'the chief,' because you wear khakis and you have an anchor, you are committed. You are 'they.'"
    On April 1, 1993, on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of CPOs, then Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Frank B. Kelso delivered a message to the fleet addressing CPOs' unwavering dedication.
    "What Americans see in our impressive young Sailors is the tradition of devotion and dedication the first Chiefs established with their sacrifice and valor. Their successors, today's chief petty officers, are no less dedicated. They prove their worth every day and continue to meet great challenges and endure adversity to protect our nation's interests," said Kelso.
    "Ask the Chief" is a household phrase used in and out of the Navy, and each CPO is charged to be a fountain of wisdom, ambassador of goodwill, and an authority on personal relations and technical applications.
    "The chief was there every step of the way to guide the junior Sailors and officers, which is what has made it exclusive," said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Philip Jean-Gilles, from Miami, Florida, Ford's medical department leading chief petty officer. "This is a brotherhood and sisterhood, understanding that you are carrying on a legacy that has been going on since 1893."
    The Chiefs Pledge, a pledge written by a chief for chiefs, states, "My Sailors are students and I am their teacher, I develop junior officers and mold my Sailors."
    The anchor every chief wears influences all Sailors, enlisted and officer. The success of the Navy can be traced back to the leadership demonstrated by CPOs.
    "I have a great respect for chief petty officers," said Ford's Commanding Officer Capt. Paul Lanzilotta. "I remember my first chief when I was a line division officer. He made sure I fully understood our relationship and assertively, but respectfully, stopped me from making mistakes. He would teach me, encourage me when I was down and bring me back down to Earth when I was acting too high up. I have an appreciation for that chief petty officer in particular, and by extension all the other chiefs I have had the privilege to work with over the years."
    The Chief's Pledge goes on to say, "I acknowledge full responsibility for the actions of my Sailors... because these sailors are the seeds of future chief petty officers."
    "It's never about you anymore. It's about the legacy you leave behind to make sure that the junior enlisted and officers are set up for success. It's a beautiful thing," said Jean-Gilles.
    Chief Personnel Specialist Jennifer Johnston, from Fort Hood, Texas, Ford's training department leading chief petty officer, said that chiefs can have an impact on any Sailor, whether it is a Sailor they know or not.
    "You can walk down a passageway past a Sailor that is sweeping and say, 'good morning shipmate, do you need some help?' It doesn't even matter if that Sailor belongs to your division or department," said Johnston. "They are going to look at you as 'a chief' and know that a chief really took the time out to talk to them and offer their support."
    Chiefs have always sought out greater challenges. The examples set by chiefs during the last century, through the challenges of war and in times of peace, have inspired Sailors today.
    "You hear stories from World War I and World War II and previous wars, and the chief just being there," said Jean-Gilles. "I stand on the shoulders of those giants. Chiefs have to continue on that legacy."
    For more news from USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), visit



    Date Taken: 04.01.2021
    Date Posted: 04.01.2021 21:45
    Story ID: 392906
    Location: US

    Web Views: 244
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