Story Number: NNS140402-15Release Date: 4/2/2014 4:00:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Hurt, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy celebrated the 121st birthday of the chief petty officer April 1, at the Navy Memorial.
Five former Master Chief Petty Officers of the Navy (MCPON) and Ima Black, widow of the first MCPON Delbert Black joined MCPON Mike Stevens for the ceremony.
The U.S. Navy grade of chief petty officer was established April 1, 1893 to distinguish senior enlisted leaders. The grade of senior chief and master chief petty officers followed in 1958.
"You are the forebearers, you are the flag bearers, you are the backbone of our Navy and I say that not flippantly. But I actually believe that with all of my heart, that without the chiefs we've got some big problems," said guest speaker and the sixth MCPON William Plackett.
The Navy is the only branch of the military in which advancing to the paygrade of E-7 holds such a high distinction.
Since the beginning, chiefs have been given the responsibility of leading Sailors to be the best in the world, ready to carry out the Navy's mission when called upon.
"I give you that charge to govern your actions," said Plackett. "Do the things you do on a day to day basis: taking care of our Sailors and never forgetting where you yourself came from."
Naval traditions are the foundation upon which many of its core values are built. Navy chiefs take pride in understanding where they came from so that they can teach the next generation of Sailors these traditions.