MILLINGTON, Tenn. — Navy Chief Air-Traffic Controller Stephen Howard, from Huber Heights, Ohio, was recently promoted to chief petty officer.
Chief Howard, a 1991 Wayne High School graduate, is currently serving with Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee.
“I am very proud to become a Navy chief,” said Howard. “I look forward to the bigger challenges being a chief brings.”
More than 280 sailors at various commands around the world were promoted during the 2016 Chief Pinning Ceremony. This ceremony is a long time Navy tradition dating back to 1893 when the chief petty officer pay grade was first created.
“The selection process for promotion to the rank of chief petty officer becomes more and more difficult each year,” said Marilyn Kennard, command master chief Naval Support Activity Mid-South. “With their increased rank, will come increased responsibility. For nearly six weeks after the selection results for chief are announced, we mentor, guide and provide extra training to help ensure a smooth transition into key leadership rolls.”
To be selected for this promotion, Sailors must be a petty officer 1st class, and go through two qualifying factors; a job based exam, and a review board. A petty officer 1st class can only go through the review board after they score high enough on the exam. Each job has different requirements for their chief petty officers.
Before the new chief can wear their new rank and anchors on their uniform collars, they must complete a six week long training filled with testing, mentoring, and challenges to make them the best chiefs they can be.
“Serving in this country’s Navy gives me great pride,” said Howard. “I am proud to say I am a chief in the U.S. Navy.”
During the ceremony, the honored sailors invite friends and family members to pin on the two gold anchors to the newly appointed chief’s uniform, while the sailor’s sponsor places the combination cover on their heads.
“I owe all my thanks to my wife Nicole, my son Kyle and my extended military family,” said Howard.