Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Welcoming the Navy’s Newest Chief Petty Officers

Friday, September 21st, was one of those special days when you feel good about what you’re doing, where you are, and privileged to be part of something greater than yourself.

Friday was the day when all the Chief-selects in the Navy, all around the world, were pinned and officially inducted into the fraternity of Navy Chiefs. Iraq included.

Several dozen Chief-selects in the Baghdad area where able to go through the Chief indoctrination process, which takes about 6 weeks. It was all on their own time and with considerable effort, as transportation is not a given around here. Friday was the culmination of this process.

In a formal ceremony in the rotunda at Al Faw Palace, the Navy was center stage. The Chiefs were pinned to thunderous applause from all services. What an amazing setting! A live band played Anchors Aweigh and other standards. A huge American flag served as backdrop. People came to the surrounding balconies to watch. My entire shop and chain of command turned out for our EWO who pinned on Chief.

As the uniqueness of the experience started to sink in, I got a little choked up, thinking about what the military has accomplished in Iraq, and how far we’ve come, to a point where we can feel safe enough to pause for a ceremony such as this.

I didn’t think it could get any better, but the guest speaker turned out to be none other than General Petraeus! I admit, I’m a huge fan. He gave a great speech, and I’m guessing every heart was swelling with pride to serve with him, and those pinned.

Here are a few photos of the event. Congratulations to all the new Chiefs!The General puts the finishing touches on his speech.

The General and the new Chiefs.

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