VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.
Chief petty officer selects stationed on board Naval Air Station Oceana held a “Heroes Breakfast” Sep. 10 at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Oceana to recognize Naval Air Station Oceana’s chiefs who have passed away.
The Heroes Breakfast was attended by Naval Air Station Oceana leadership, chief selectees, and current and retired chief petty officers.
MA1 Mario A. Osman, a chief select assigned to the Naval Air Station Oceana security department, said a ceremony such as the Heroes Breakfast is inspiring to him.
“As a chief select, this tells me that I’m joining something that is not about me,” said Osman. “There’s a bigger picture when it comes to the chief’s mess. We are joining a legacy; something we are charged with passing on to the next chiefs.”
The Heroes Breakfast is not only a way to remember the fallen chief petty officers and bring former, current and future chiefs together. It served as an opportunity for the chief selects to practice organizing events; something Senior Chief Master-At-Arms Mike Hausmann, one of the leaders for “Chief Season” on board Naval Air Station Oceana, says is an important part of the selects’ training.
“The Heroes Breakfast is held precisely at this time of year for a reason,” said Hausmann. “It gives us a training opportunity for the selects to put on an event, and the sense of heritage, history, patriotism, and remembrance exhibited here are things we are bringing to the forefronts of their minds.”
Hausmann said the training that the chief selects undergo is meant to instill in them a new mindset, and to teach them to look at problems from the perspective of a chief.
“E-7 in the navy means something a lot different than any other service,” said Hausmann. “We start training our chiefs when they’re still first class petty officers. The last 6 weeks is for us to test them mentally, challenge them to perform under pressure, and change their mindsets from an E-6 mentality into a chief’s mentality. We use these 6 weeks to frame them for success.”
Senior Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Theresa Munet, another “Chief Season” lead, said an event like the Heroes Breakfast is meant to help shape their new mindset as they prepare to enter the Chief’s Mess.
“Most of the time, as first class petty officers, they’re thinking about their own ‘little box’ of themselves and their work centers,” said Munet. “When we do things like this, we have to bring them out of that mindset and have them start thinking about the ‘greater than.’”
Munet said she hopes the chief selects are instilled with a sense of heritage and humility, and begin seeing the “bigger picture” by the end of “Chief Season.”
“Most of the time we talk about the chief season, we talk about making chiefs in 7 to 8 weeks, which is unrealistic,” said Munet. “Our goal is really to get them start and prepared for what is to come.”
The Naval Air Station Oceana chief selects will be pinned with their gold fouled anchors on Sept. 13 at the Aerotheater on board the installation.
Osman said he’s excited to finally become a chief petty officer, humbled and instilled with a new sense of pride within the United States Navy.
“Tradition is how we make it to the future,” said Osman. “But to make it to the future, we must always remember our history.”