Holy perfidious delay!
I haven't posted anything on a LONG time. I am surprised I haven't received a number of threats from Maggie. Perhaps she is too busy planning the fete for her friend who was newly selected as a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy.
It is undoubtedly, the hardest rank to make in the Navy. The transition from E6 (petty officer first class) to E7 is a grueling all day exam, a culling from all the potential candidates and then a selection board presided over by senior chiefs, officers and an admiral. To give you an example, in my former unit one of my sailors made chief. He was an Interior Communicationsman (IC). He was also the first IC chief, designated ICC, in twenty-one (21) years!
The Chief is the primary supervisor / leader among the enlisted ranks in the Navy. He is also the individual charged with training the new ensigns. It can be truly said that the Chiefs run the Navy. Some of the best people I have met have worn the anchors. Many chiefs move on to officer positions through various commissioning routes. They tend to be technical experts and uniquely qualified to perform their duties.
I am reminded of an old sea story. A young ensign is talking to his chief in the spaces aboard a destroyer.
Ensign: "I don't understand it Chief, you can move on to warrant or ensign, but an ensign can't become a chief."
Chief: "We have our standards, sir."