YOKOSUKA, Japan -- The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) celebrated the 121st birthday of the senior enlisted rank of chief petty officer, April 1.
Navy traditions are the foundation upon which many of its core values are built on and chief petty officers take pride in understanding where they came from so they can pass on these traditions to the next generation of Sailors.
"I feel the most important with the history of the mess is the legacy we as chiefs bring forward," said Senior Chief Electronics Technician Kathleen Jackson. "We are always going to touch our reliefs in some way, shape or form and that's going to drive them to be the chiefs they should be."
Chief petty officers serve dual roles as technical experts and as leaders, with the increasing emphasis on leadership as they progress into further in the senior enlisted pay grades.
"The officers come up with the ideas and the mission we need to accomplish and they give it to the chief mess to actually set the right parts in motion and lead the Sailors to accomplish the mission," said Command Master Chief Shaun Brahmsteadt.
For 121 years, the Chiefs Mess has been a support system for enlisted Sailors that only the best and hardest working can be a part of.
"The most important job I have is taking care of the Sailors and making sure they have everything they need to be successful," said Jackson. "My success is measured by them, not by what I do."
The celebration of the inclusion of the senior enlisted ranks is essential in recognizing the Navy chiefs who work hard to ensure the success of Sailors. All chiefs should be especially proud on this day for all the hard work they do on the George Washington and all throughout the fleet.
"I'm proud to be a chief petty officer," said Brahmsteadt. "I've been a chief petty officer for 16 years and I can't dream of doing anything else but this."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.