By JoAnna Delfin, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs
ASAN, Guam (NNS) -- Navy chiefs stationed on Guam were one of the first in the nation to celebrate the 121st birthday of chief petty officers (CPO).
CPOs commemorated their birthday with a flag-raising ceremony at the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center in Santa Rita April 1.
"Being a chief means a few things to me," said Joint Region Marianas Command Master Chief (SW) Gregory Vidaurri. "First, our responsibility is to the Sailors we are entrusted to lead, develop and train. Second, chiefs are entrusted to train our replacements and pass the traditions of the Navy onto them. Last, we are entrusted to guide and train the junior officers, in much the same manner that you experienced and benefitted from in your career."
Achieving the rank of chief petty officer is held in high regard and is one of the Navy's longstanding traditions.
"I am most proud of the way we prepare our newest chiefs to enter the CPO mess," Vidaurri said. "CPO phase two sets the correct course for ensuring our chiefs are ready to perform on the deckplates from the moment they don those khaki's for the very first time."
U.S. Naval Base Guam Command Master Chief (SW) Johannes Gonzalez pinned on his anchors in 2004 and was selected as a master chief in 2012.
"Each time I wear my hat it reminds me of the honor that I have to be wearing the cover of a chief petty officer and understand that with it comes the responsibility to uphold our standards and develop our Sailors," he said. "I am proud to be a chief petty officer."
The rate of CPO was established April 1, 1893, and provided first-class petty officers the opportunity to further advance in their career. CPOs are responsible for the training discipline and recognition of Sailors under their guidance and serve as experts in their designated field.
Navy chiefs on Guam will participate in several activities to commemorate the CPO's birthday including a community relations event at a local elementary school and a