April 1, 2013
Naval Hospital Beaufort Chief Petty Officers Celebrate 120 Years
Today, April 1, 2013, Chief Petty Officers (CPO) at Naval Hospital Beaufort celebrated their 120th birthday honoring naval traditions and fostering a spirit of service.
“It’s important to celebrate our birthday because chiefs are the keepers of naval heritage and tradition,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman Amanda Hughes, who serves as the command career counselor, drug and alcohol programs advisor, and command historian for Naval Hospital Beaufort. “Today, we are setting an example for junior Sailors about the importance of honoring these traditions and keeping them alive.”
The chiefs mess, including several retired chiefs who work at the hospital and donned their uniforms for the event, started the day off by leading morning colors. They were joined by the hospital’s first class petty officers who work closely with the chiefs mess as part of the CPO 365 initiative, a program designed to instill leadership qualities and develop the next generation of Navy chiefs.
In addition to morning colors, the chiefs held a cake-cutting ceremony on the quarterdeck and highlighted their history. They also cooked and served lunch to all Sailors E6 and below, which included delivery of nearly 200 lunches to Sailors working at the hospital’s Branch Health Clinics (BHC) at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
According to Hughes, who organized the day’s events, the role that chief petty officers have in the Navy is both unique and vital. Chiefs have an obligation not only to lead, but also to serve and mentor, setting an example for those who will don anchors in the future.
“I once heard that leadership is stewardship,” said Hughes. “Being a Chief is just that, being a steward of junior Sailors who are entrusted to our care and guidance. We have to do it right because we only have them for a short period of time and we are accountable for their successes and possible failures. I tell all the Sailors that I’ve had the pleasure to serve with that they don’t work me, my job as a Chief is to work for them, to give them everything they need to succeed.”
One of the important roles that Navy Chiefs fulfill, said Hughes, is that of a liaison between the enlisted and officer communities and providing guidance up and down the chain of command.
“One of the things Chiefs do so well is to provide guidance not just to our Sailors, but also to junior officers,” she said. “Chiefs are experienced Sailors who understand the Navy and are in the perfect position to provide deckplate leadership to the Sailors we work for, but also to help those officers who are new to the Navy understand how things work. Chiefs, with all their experiences, keep the Navy running.”
The final activity will be a softball tournament that pits the Chiefs Mess against the Medical Service Corps officers at the hospital, which will not only provide physical activity, but continue to build camaraderie between the CPOs and officers at the naval hospital.
Open since 1949, Naval Hospital Beaufort provides general medical, surgical, and emergency services to all active duty personnel, as well as retired military and family members residing in the Beaufort area, a total population of approximately 29,000 beneficiaries.