VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 12 and Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 2 commissioned two chief petty officers to the rank of chief warrant officer (CWO) 2, during ceremonies held Aug. 1 and Dec. 6.
Husband and wife Gas Turbine System Technician Senior Chief David A. Pace and Engineman Chief Layla Pace were commissioned to CWO2 four months apart.
Layla was the first to be commissioned to the rank of CWO2 during a ceremony held at Yorktown Coast Guard Station in Williamsburg, Va.
“I was on cloud nine when I received the message I was selected to CWO2,” said Layla. “It took me 20 years to achieve one of my personal goals.”
Layla is the first female engineman chief to be commissioned to the rank of CWO.
“It means a lot to be the first female” said Layla.
“There are so few of us in engineering that it’s kind of hard to have someone to look up to. Now I can tell females to keep pushing, you can get there,” said Layla. “There is no need to be discouraged.”
David followed his wife during a commissioning ceremony held at Scott Center Annex in Portsmouth, Va.
“It was a great accomplishment,” said David. “It was a very proud moment because it was something I was trying so hard to do.”
David explained that hard work pays off when sailors apply themselves and gave his advice to sailors who are looking to follow in his footsteps.
“Do your job, do it to the best of your ability and the rest of the stuff will come, the awards, the pay grade,” said David. “Because if you do your job the best that you can, you’re going to be recognized for it.”
Mentors, friends and encouragement are key elements that Layla says helped her throughout her Navy career.
“You need mentors. You don’t necessarily have to be the mentor, you can be mentee,” said Layla. “You need friends that you can vent to and unwind with, and basically hear a different side of the story. And you need encouragement. I have encouraged others and unbeknownst to me they have encouraged me as well.”
Layla enlisted in the Navy on June 18, 1990. After her tour with MSRON 12, she reported on board USS Normandy (CG 60) in September 2013 where she is currently serving as main propulsion assistant. Her duties include fuels officer and quality assurance officer. She will remain on board until September 2016.
David enlisted in the Navy on Feb. 8, 1993. He is currently assigned to CRS 2. He will report to USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) as main propulsion assistant (MPA) in February 2014.
Navy CWOs are technical specialists with knowledge and skills of a specific occupational field at a level beyond what is normally expected of a master chief petty officer (E-9).
The CWO Program provides commissioning opportunities to qualified senior enlisted personnel. Chief petty officers (E-7 through E-9), and E-6 personnel who are selection board eligible for E-7 may also qualify for this program.
For more information about the CWO program, go to the Navy Personnel Command website at http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/Pages/default.aspxl and click on the career information tab.