NAVIFOR marks 129th chief petty officer birthday 

Published 6:51 pm Friday, April 8, 2022

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Joshua Rodriguez
NAVIFOR Public Affairs Office

More than 1,500 chief petty officers across the Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) Type Command (TYCOM) celebrated the 129th birthday of the CPO rank April 1.

According to the Naval History and Heritage Command website, the chief petty officer was officially established on April 1, 1893, when the rank “petty officer first class” was shifted to “chief petty officer.”

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This originally encompassed nine ratings (occupational specialties): chief master-at-arms, chief boatswain’s mate, chief quartermaster, chief gunner’s mate, chief machinist, chief carpenter’s mate, chief yeoman, apothecary, and band master. Chief petty officer could be either an acting (temporary) appointment, designated as AA, or a permanent appointment, designated as PA.

The Career Compensation Act of 1949 created an E-7 grade that standardized pay for all chief petty officers, regardless of acting or permanent status. Acting status for chief petty officers was not eliminated until 1965. A 1958 amendment to the Career Compensation Act added two new pay grades, senior chief (E-8) and master chief (E-9), and created six new rating titles.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to wear the fouled anchors and to wear the rank of a chief Petty Officer,” said NAVIFORs Senior Enlisted Advisor Master Chief Petty Officer Information Systems Technician Chris Boyson. “The task of training and mentoring our sailors is not something that I take lightly, and I enjoy doing it day in and day out, which is the definition of self-less service. I am in awe of everything that the CPO mess has accomplished and excited to see what is still yet to come.”

“The CPO birthday is a time for our chiefs to review and gain new knowledge about the history of being a chief and an occasion to “recharge” their anchors, learning and sharing the history and legacy of the chief with one another,” said Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, NAVIFOR commander. “Being a chief petty officer requires an absolute professional who is completely committed to service. Thank you to each and every CPO for your leadership.”

The earliest known unofficial use of the term chief petty officer dates to 1776, when the Continental Navy ship Alfred’s Jacob Wasbie, a cook’s mate, received the title “chief cook.” The rate of chief was officially established over a century later on April 1, 1893.

There are currently three ranks of chief petty officer in the Navy: chief, senior chief and master chief. According to Naval History and Heritage Command, “Chiefs are recognized for exemplary technical expertise within their rating, superior administrative skills, and strong leadership ability. Most importantly, chiefs bridge the gap between officers and enlisted personnel, acting as supervisors as well as advocates for their Sailors.”

NAVIFOR’s mission is to “generate, directly and through our leadership of the IW Enterprise, agile and technically superior manned, trained, equipped, and certified combat-ready IW forces to ensure our Navy will decisively deter, compete and win.”

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