BREMERTON, Wash. —
Four petty officer first class nuclear machinist mates at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility were pinned to the rank of chief petty officer during a ceremony Jan. 29, 2021, at Olympic Lodge on Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Washington.
Matthew Bernstein, Devin Donohue, Austin Rhodes and Mark Robbins had their chief petty officer insignia pinned on their uniforms by family and friends in a scaled-down ceremony to adhere to COVID-19 protective protocols.
“I’m very proud of the Sailors standing here in front of you today,” said Capt. Jip Mosman, commander, PSNS & IMF, who delivered remarks during the ceremony. “Be proud. You’ve accomplished a great deal to get to this point, and the Navy and the nation are relying on you to be good leaders, mentors and teachers.”
Mosman explained to the socially-distanced ceremony audience that Navy chiefs don’t just mentor junior Sailors, they help teach and mold junior officers into effective leaders.
“For me, on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) a long, long time ago, I had a senior chief and a master chief who very much shaped who I am, how I lead and what I’ve done in the Navy,” Mosman said. “I will never forget Senior Chief Rick Evans and Master Chief Don Grogan.”
The entire promotion cycle was thrown off this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Navy announced in March, via NAVADMIN 072/20, that all promotion, advancement, milestone and other selection boards scheduled to convene after March 24 would be postponed until further notice, before announcing two months later in NAVADMIN 144/2 that they would begin again. The subsequent promotion boards and promotion ceremonies were adjusted to ensure COVID-19 protective measures were implemented.
“The selection process was delayed along with many other boards as Navy leadership developed a way forward,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Justin Sherman, senior enlisted advisor for PSNS & IMF. “Even with many new measures in place to keep everyone safe, our four new chiefs persevered and didn't give up. They exhibited the same fortitude and dedication that got them here in the first place.”
The advancement to chief petty officer is a major career milestone for enlisted Sailors. Being selected for chief requires demonstrated excellence in both performance and demeanor.
“Chief petty officers are expected to be technical and practical experts providing solutions to both officers and enlisted personnel alike,” said Sherman. “A chief is a tried and true leader, who trains Sailors in their ratings while guiding and training junior officers into our future leaders.”
Unlike being promoted to petty officer first class or other enlisted grades, advancement to chief petty officer not only carries requirements of time in service, superior evaluation scores, and specialty examinations, it also carries an added requirement of peer review. A petty officer first class can only be promoted to chief petty officer after review by a selection board of serving senior and master chief petty officers.
Mosman encouraged the newly-minted chiefs to be ready to perform at the highest level possible, from the minute they “put on the hat,” which is Navy slang for being promoted to chief petty officer.
“On day one of wearing khaki, you are expected to be the adult in the room; making mature decisions at all times,” Mosman said. “As a chief, you need to practice due diligence at all times. You need to be prepared for what you are going to do. The Navy and the nation need you to do it, and do it the best you can.”