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Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), Naval Support Activity Bethesda, and Navy Medicine Professional Development Center (NMPDC) recently joined together to celebrate the 119th U.S. Navy Chief’s birthday with a cake-cutting ceremony.

“One Hundred-Nineteen years with the chiefs petty officers, what a storied history, what an integral part of the Navy and even more so an integral part of military medicine,” said Capt. David A. Bitonti, WRNMMC director of health services. “Everyone always says the Navy runs on the chief petty officers’ mess and I think that those of you who are either part of the mess or those of you that have had the opportunity to interact with the mess really know how integral that statement is. They really move the Navy and they keep us going,” he added.

The rank of chief petty officer holds a special place among military ranks. The Chief Petty Officer’s Creed effectively tells the story of what it means to be a chief, and much of it can be summed up with these words from the creed: “only in the United States Navy does E-7 carry unique responsibilities no other armed forces throughout the world carries, nor which grants privileges to its enlisted personnel comparable to the privileges and responsibilities you are now bound to observe and are expected to fulfill.”

“We're not just celebrating another year of chiefs serving the Navy; we're celebrating everything it means to be the chief,” said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West.

“Our anchors are the symbol of a culture and a way of life. Since 1893, Chiefs have been charged with the responsibility of ensuring our Sailors are the best in the world, ready to carry out our Navy's mission when our nation calls. We welcome that responsibility and lead by example with pride, character, and loyalty, a strong commitment to leadership, our core values, and the Navy ethos,” added West.

According to William D. Glascoe, deputy commander for medical and surgical services, senior enlisted leader, WRNMMC, Chief Petty Officers have three main objectives: to train and guide junior officers to develop them into leaders, to train and develop their subordinates into future leaders, and here lies all chief petty officers experience and wisdom as well as technical expertise when trying to solve problems and trying to achieve the commands mission.

“United States Navy Chief Petty Officers are unique in the military services,” said Capt. L.L. Cornforth, Commanding Officer NMPDC. “They are set apart from their juniors to lead by example, train, and guide Sailors to be their best and thereby ensure mission success.”