After a delay in selecting new Chief Petty Officers in 2020 due to COVID, the selections were made and those who had been waiting finally got the good news. For the Naval Postgraduate School, Chief Cryptologic Technician (Select) Charles Heinen and Information Technology Chief (Select) Hector Rosario, both students in the Master of Applied Cyber Operations (MACO) curriculum, were selected to become Chief Petty Officers (CPO).
The pinning of CPO anchors doesn’t happen right away after the selection board results are made public. A Chief select must be challenged with a set of trials conducted by local Chiefs in a process called induction. These seasoned Chiefs will ensure the selectees meet the required steps that prepare them to don the anchors of a Chief and lead like one as members of the U.S. Navy Chief’s Mess.
“During induction, we want to instill resilience, perseverance, and the highest form of leadership,” said NPS’ Senior Enlisted Leader Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Llord von Bainco. “There are a lot of intangibles in the process, but we want to impart on them balancing home and work, how to work with any kind of team where one’s in charge, encouraging pride in our history and heritage, and teaching them what right looks like.”
While Bainco noted that it is important to set a good example in managing conflict and knowing when to pick your battles and how to fight them, he stressed that the basics are equally important.
“We also touch on the administrative basics, like writing evaluations and coming up with a solid plan to accomplish taskings,” said Bainco. “This is why the induction season is so very important, crucial even, to a Chief’s career. This process, though not set-in stone, gives a Chief a better chance of successfully leading his or her team wherever he or she goes, regardless of the circumstances.”
Even though COVID delayed the induction season, which usually begins in August, it could not prevent it. A modified season began in November, and encompassed holiday breaks taking the process until the end of January to complete.
“The pandemic has pushed all of the board’s timelines, but so far our selectees have performed how we expect selectees to perform … They are being molded into Chiefs,” said Bainco. “We break them out of their shells, and so they can emerge and act accordingly.”
According to Chief Select Heinen, getting to mission accomplishment despite the situation was a key teaching point in the induction process.
“One lesson that I took away is adaptability and having the ability to get things done regardless of the circumstances,” said Heinen. “Even though we are in a COVID environment, we’re still able to successfully accomplish the mission [to become Chiefs].”
For Chief Select Rosario, without the heritage of U.S. Navy Chiefs, there would be no meaning to what they do.
“Being a Chief is about carrying the torch of Navy traditions and passing on the heritage to the new generation of Sailors,” said Rosario. “But more importantly, it's about being the voice for those that do not have the authority or platform to be heard. To me, Chiefs are the ones that carry the burden of making things happen in the Navy and I'm glad I will be able to lead and affect change.”