Navy chiefs on USS Nimitz celebrate 124th CPO birthday

Navy chiefs aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) celebrated the birthday of chief petty officers with a series of events throughout the ship, April 1.

Events took place on the flight deck, hangar bays and mess decks. They included a group photo, birthday cake cutting, a bike marathon and an ice cream social.

“Today, as we pause to celebrate the establishment of the rank of chief petty officer, we look back at our proud heritage over the last 124 years,” said Nimitz’ Command Master Chief Jimmy Hailey, a native of Austin, Texas. “We look forward to the future and all challenges and triumphs yet to come. We’re proud of the important role we continue to play in serving our Navy and in protecting our nation.”

One hundred and twenty-four years ago, April 1, 1893, Navy General Order 409 established the rate of chief petty officer, at that time, the highest enlisted rank in the United States Navy.

Serving as both technical experts and leaders, chief petty officers across the Navy are recognized as the backbone of the Navy. Newly commissioned junior officers and Sailors across the fleet often receive training from chief petty officers during their indoctrination into the Navy.

“To be a chief means to lead and mentor our Sailors,” said Chief Operations Specialist Jessie Quarterman Jr., a native of Cordele, Georgia. “It’s taking the time and experience that I have and guiding the Sailors under my instruction in the right direction.”

More than 2,900 Sailors are attached to Nimitz, with 174 chief petty officers working alongside them.

“Chief petty officers are in charge of good order and discipline,” said Hailey. “Every successful evolution that happens in the Navy, be it Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) or even getting the ship underway, chiefs play a huge part in every completed exercise.”

Nimitz is currently underway conducting COMPTUEX with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in preparation for an upcoming deployment. COMPTUEX tests a carrier strike group’s mission-readiness and ability to perform as an integrated unit through simulated real-world scenarios.

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