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Medical Forces Atlantic welcomes new chiefs in Hampton Roads

29 September 2023

From Bobbie A. Camp and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Levi Decker, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Public Affairs and Outreach

Twenty-four Sailors achieved a major milestone in their enlisted career as they were advanced to the rank of a chief petty officer during a ceremony on board Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hampton Roads – Portsmouth Annex, Sep. 29, 2023.
 Witnessed by a gathering of family, friends, command leadership, and teammates, the Naval Medical Forces Atlantic (NMFL) Sailors from area commands were pinned with fouled anchors and donned the khaki combination covers for the first time.  

“I feel great, and there is a lot of good energy in here,” expressed Chief Machinist Mate Mitchell Didriksen, a native of Mt. Plymouth, Florida, and assigned to the Mercy-class hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). “We’re really excited for the next chapter in our careers.”   

The pinning ceremony marks the conclusion of a six-week training period where selects are mentored by current chief petty officers through a time-honored initiation, in order to provide them the tools necessary to carry out the duties and responsibilities of a chief.

“It was a really long process,” explained Chief Hospital Corpsman Ashton Kang, a native of Imlay, Michigan, and assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit Little Creek. “It’s very humbling and educational, with a lot of heartfelt emotions.”
Retired Fleet Master Chief April Beldo was a guest speaker during the ceremony and spoke of the journey to becoming a chief.
“I want you to remember [all the feelings you have had through this],” stressed Beldo. “I want you to remember the pride you feel every time you put on that uniform and look in the mirror. I look at each and every one of you and I am so proud to welcome you as a chief petty officer and to recognize you are about to embark upon a journey as a part of the Chiefs’ Mess.”
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.
“I’m appreciative of everything and everyone that’s instilled some faith in me and my leadership,” concluded Chief Hospital Corpsman John Gorey, a Philadelphia native and assigned to NMFL. “I just want to do them proud and continue to keep on their legacies through my actions.”
NMFL, headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, delivers operationally focused medical expertise and capabilities to meet Fleet, Marine and Joint Force requirements by providing equipment, sustainment and maintenance of medical forces during combat operations and public health crises. NMFL provides oversight for 21 NMRTCs, logistics, and public health and dental services throughout the U.S. East Coast, U.S. Gulf Coast, Cuba, Europe, and the Middle East.


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