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Kickoff: “Year of the Chief” at the U.S. Navy Memorial

April 2, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

“Year of the Chief,” A Salute to Chief Petty Officers
Actor Gary Sinise to be Named Honorary Chief Petty Officer
U.S. Navy Memorial Debuts New Exhibit Honoring Navy and Coast Guard Enlisted Leaders

In honor of the Chief Petty Officers’ (CPO) 119th Birthday, the United States Navy Memorial unveils a new exhibit to support the nationwide celebration of the Year of the Chief.  The exhibit, on display from April 2, 2012 through March 2013, will depict Chief     life, work, history and accomplishments through historical artifacts, art and imagery.  MCPON Rick D. West and the 9th MCPON Jim Herdt will lead the launch ceremony, in which special guest Gary Sinise will be made an honorary CPO.

Artifacts, including uniforms, medals and insignia, have been drawn from the Navy, Coast Guard and private collections.  Works of art that portray Chiefs at work are on loan from the U.S. Navy’s Art Collection and the Coast Guard Art Program.  Original cartoon artwork from Hank Ketcham’s “Half Hitch” comic strip will also be displayed to demonstrate the lighter side of Navy life.  Other highlights include a 1914 uniform worn by Chief Abraham DeSomer, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism at Vera Cruz, Mexico; baseball items signed by Word War II Chief, MLB Hall of Famerand 2011 Lone Sailor Award Honoree Bob Feller, as well as rare early artifacts from the World War I era dating from the establishment of the Chief Petty Officer rating in 1893.

In addition, the Navy Memorial will spotlight the Year of the Chief with numerous public events throughout the year, including leadership seminars, author presentations and book signings.  A special Year of the Chief Challenge Coin, commemorative challenge coins featuring George H.W. Bush, Ernie Borgnine and Gary Sinise, and a pictorial coffee book will be available for purchase through the Navy Memorial website.

April 1, 1893 marks the day that the U.S. Navy officially created the rank of Chief Petty Officer.  Since then, Chiefs have been charged with the duties and responsibilities of ensuring sailors are trained and ready to carry out the Navy’s missions when called upon.  It is often said that the Chief Petty Officer is the backbone of the Navy.  Their mission, vision and guiding principles are forged in a tradition of CPO Leadership, which is unique only to those who have walked the deckplates in this coveted role.

COST: Free and open to the public

Call (202) 737-2300 or visit for more information.


April 2, 2012
3:00 pm
Event Category:


United States Navy Memorial
701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC United States
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United States Navy Memorial