San Diego Area Chiefs Celebrate CPO Birthday at Padres Game

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Story Number: NNS140402-09Release Date: 4/2/2014 11:38:00 AM

By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Donnie W. Ryan, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 300 chief petty officers (CPOs) from San Diego area sea and shore commands put on their khaki uniforms and combination covers to observe the 121st CPO birthday by attending the San Diego Padres baseball opening day game at Petco Park, April 1.

The event was scheduled to help celebrate 121 years of naval history and deckplate leadership by Navy CPOs since the rank was established in 1893.

"I wanted to combine the two great American traditions of baseball and CPO leadership," said Senior Chief Master-at-Arms (AW) Miguel Laines, who organized and coordinated the event. "I had a lot of help from a number of chiefs who stepped up to the plate to help."

Laines said he has been planning the event for almost a year and the San Diego Padres organization was very supportive in working out the details for the game and birthday celebration.

"I want the chiefs to enjoy the game as well as the celebration of 121 years of deckplate leadership, camaraderie and tradition," said Laines.

CPOs also helped to present a giant American flag during the national anthem and opening ceremony for the afternoon game in which the Padres took on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In his birthday letter to the entire CPO Mess, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens challenged all CPOs to take care of the Navy family, lead by example and take control of what they own.

"We've been asked to lead and serve our Sailors, no matter the circumstance or situation, and these are surely challenging times," wrote Stevens. "There are many things beyond our control that have the potential to distract us from the tasks at hand. Fortunately, it's in our DNA to embrace these challenges, seek opportunities, and find solutions."

CPOs and baseball have had ties since World War II when Robert "Bullet Bob" Feller, a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, left the game in 1941 to serve in the Navy after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Feller was advanced to the rank of CPO during his military service and served aboard USS Alabama (BB 60) in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters.

Following his naval service, Feller returned to baseball with the Cleveland Indians and was eventually inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is the only Navy CPO to hold that honor.

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