Since its introduction in 1893, the chief petty officer has become the most noteworthy rank on the enlisted side of the Navy. Every year since then, the "chiefs" celebrate their establishment within this service.

To commemorate that day, chiefs from all over Iraq gathered to celebrate their 118th birthday on Camp Victory, Apr. 1.

Today is one of the most significant days for Sailors who hold the rank of chief, said Chief Petty Officer Franchot McDaniel, supply chief with United States Forces - Iraq command group. "We are a developed corps within a corps and that is rare in other services."

Stemming from Navy General Order 409, this celebration signifies the heritage and history of the rank of chief today, said Chief Petty Officer Frederick Hunter, information systems technician chief with Naval Forces Central Command headquarters. "It is not a matter of gathering for a function but rather to remain focused on our traditions, past, and the future of this title."

This elite group is recognized for its leadership and professional abilities honed by experience and maturity within the Navy. Chiefs are expected to take on more responsibilities and duties as technical experts, leaders, and advisers to younger Sailors and junior officers.

"Being a chief petty officer, senior chief, and master chief -E7 through E9- is very unique in the Navy as opposed to any other services in the U.S. military," said Command Master Chief Teri Mcintyre, command master chief for NAVCENT (Forward). "We transition from 'blue shirt' to 'khakis' and receive the anchors to distinguish progression in rank and the inheritance of multiple roles."

"Chiefs stand out from the rest because we are the backbone of the Navy," said Chief Petty Officer Fabrinzo Green, chief petty officer with Defense Reutilization Management Office. "We are built amongst each other through team development and peer mentorship."

The camaraderie within the corps of chiefs was displayed throughout the celebration as they had dinner, conversed and shared laughs.

Camaraderie and tradition are key aspects that help a unit to remain strong and productive, McDaniel said.

This event, as it incorporates our traditions, builds a bond that will continue to be cherished and celebrated, Hunter said.

Because of its significance, Navy personnel vow to show respect, admiration, and appreciation for those who have served as chief petty officers.

As president of the Chief Petty Officers Association, Mcintyre added a more meaningful theme to this last celebration in Iraq by paying tribute to the fallen chiefs.

"We have been around this long," Mcintyre said. "We wanted to remember our fallen chiefs, each one by name. Their sacrifices and dedication to our nation will serve as an inspiration to our future Sailors."

The celebration ended with a loud and thunderous "Anchors Away" and the chiefs bid farewell to their comrades-in-arms.

Page last updated Fri April 8th, 2011 at 06:48