Our New Journey

It’s been an exciting few weeks in our house. On August 1st, my husband, a Navy service member for eighteen years, had received word that he was finally selected for promotion from First Class Petty Officer to Chief Petty Officer. This is quite an accomplishment, one that is much sought after by many Navy members. It isn’t an easy process by any means. Once within range, a  First Class Petty Officer must take a test every January for this promotion. Then they must wait until March for the test results to come out (they call it, making board). Sometime between March and July, an anonymous panel of Navy Chiefs pour through each eligible Service Members personnel record  and choose a select number of highest ranking First Classes that they feel are most fit for  promotion. Each specialty, or job rating, will only have a certain number of openings so the duty of choosing who gets promoted is an enormous task. While this is happening, the eligible service members are ‘patiently’ waiting for the word to come out.  It’s a torturous process for service members as well as their families. The waiting, the anticipation, the discussions both at work and at home about the “what if’s”, how the promotion can change their career with new responsibilities and their lives with possible new duty stations. It’s a long, trying process and when the news comes out and they see their name isn’t on the list, it’s very painful, and it gets more and more painful with each passing year. The Service Member then has  from August to January to lick their wounds and prepare to start all over again. Hopefully, the day finally comes when their name IS on the list, they haven’t been passed over, their hard work and dedication has finally been acknowledged and they are now part of the sacred rank of Chief. Or will be, soon. This is when the fun begins, now it’s induction time. Starting immediately and going for about six or so weeks, the selectees go through arduous trainings and tests both physically and mentally. They endure taskers being thrown at them from every angle,  the current Chiefs want to see how much their new selectees can handle, they want to see that they ask for help when they need it, that they reach out to their resources and get assistance. They want to know that these new Chiefs are worthy of the title. Pushing them beyond their limits, forcing them to grow and learn.

It’s been an interesting few weeks in our house. With all of the challenges that he has had to face, it’s definitely spilled over into our family life. With his erratic schedule, my work and school, and the girls birthday parties, school schedule, music lessons and everything else. But now it’s over. His pinning ceremony was last Friday, and on Monday, he returned to his normal work schedule, even though his work is different, at least he didn’t have to change offices.

I am very proud of him for his accomplishments, though the annual waiting game and the wounds that his pride endured every year when he was passed up were tough, I am confident that it happened when it was supposed to happen. The seven and a half weeks of induction were filled with invaluable lessons that he will carry with him forever. He’s different now, he’s no longer just a Sailor, but now part of something bigger, he is a Navy Chief.

Today though, it’s back to us both working normal hours and normal days and we can move on with figuring out our new routine. This is our new beginning, a new chapter in our lives as a Navy family and I look forward to experiencing this new journey with him.

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