08/14/2015 11:15:30 am
Mark T Weber
Chief Petty Officer Tributes at the United States Navy Memorial
The Chiefs’ Bell
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Chief Petty Officer rank, two bells and a time capsule were dedicated at the United States Navy Memorial. On April 1, 1993, the Chiefs’ Bell was officially presented to the Memorial by MCPON John Hagan and the bell’s designer HTC (SW) Kathleen A. Hansen. The bell was cast by Chief Hansen and Alex Bigler of Equestrian Forge in Leesburg, VA.
The brass bell and accompanying plaque stand approximately 6 feet high and currently stand at the entrance to the Navy Log Room in the Naval Heritage Center. The obverse of the bell features the Navy seal flanked by CPO anchors with the wording:
“CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS CENTENNIAL UNITED STATES NAVY 1893-1993.”
The reverse of the bell carries the following wording:
“THE CHIEFS’ BELL PRESENTED TO THE UNITED STATES NAVY MEMORIAL BY THE CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY 1 APRIL 1993” and “PRESENTED BY THE 8th MASTER CHIEF PETTY OFFICER OF THE NAVY ETCM (SW) JOHN HAGAN.”
MCPON Hagan’s signature is engraved on the bell below this wording.
Unnoticed by most visitors is the engraving found inside the bell:
“THIS BELL WAS DESIGNED AND CAST UNDER THE DIRECTION OF HTC (SW) KATHLEEN A. HANSEN, USN POURED BY KAH 29 MAR 1993…WITH NAVY PRIDE”
While all visitors to the Memorial are welcome to view the bell, only Chiefs are allowed to strike it; CPO selects are often encouraged to polish it under the watchful supervision of their Chief mentors as part of their initiation process.
The Plaque Displayed with the Chiefs Bell
CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS
UNITED STATES NAVY
100 YEARS OF
NAVY PRIDE AND NAVY LEADERSHIP
The first Constitutional Navy of the United States was formally created on March 27, 1794 when President George Washington signed a bill into law to provide a naval armament of six ships.
This legislation also allotted numbers and ranks of the crews. At that time, the enlisted ranks were composed of ordinary seamen, seamen, petty officers and warrants. Ninety-one years later, United States Navy Regulations Circular No. 41 of January 8, 1888 established the petty officer ranks of first, second, and third class, recognizing their seniority from other enlisted ranks.
On March 13, 1893 United States Navy Regulations Circular No. 1 authorized the rank of CHIEF PETTY OFFICER to take effect on or after April 1, 1893. The word “chief” means “taking first place” and denotes its senior position among enlisted ranks.
The 1914 Bluejackets Manual, a handbook written by and for sailors for over a hundred years, spoke to the petty officers about their new position when they have been promoted to Chief Petty Officer:
“…The position of Chief Petty Officer is one of special honor. It shows not only that you have served successfully, but that your service has met with the commendation of your seniors, that you are proficient, trustworthy, and reliable…
“…The tone of the ship, the tone of the service itself must come directly from the Chief Petty Officers more than from any other group in the Navy. You have the standard; live up to it…and you will find that those under you will be more inclined to do likewise.”
We, the Chief Petty Officers, serving in the second 100 years of duty to our country and to our Navy, dedicate the sounding of this bell as a symbol of our continued dedication to “Setting the Tone” as our comrades-in-arms have done so bravely before us.
This ships bell, known hereafter as “The Chiefs Bell”, is presented to the U.S. Navy Memorial by the Chief Petty Officers now serving in the United States Navy
1 APRIL 1993
The privilege of sounding the Chiefs Bell belongs to all Chief Petty Officers
The CPO Time Capsule
A second, plain brass bell was placed on the Navy’s birthday, October 13, 1993, outside on the main Navy Memorial Plaza. It is mounted on the flag mast closest to the Naval Heritage Center entrance where it is used in numerous naval ceremonies. A vault in the granite base of that flag mast houses the CPO Centennial Time Capsule.
The Time Capsule is to be opened on April 1, 2093 in celebration of the Chief Petty Officer Bicentennial. A plaque mounted on the flag mast reads:
“CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS’ CENTENNIAL TIME CAPSULE 2093
THE RANK OF CHIEF PETTY OFFICER—THE SENIOR POSITION AMONG NAVAL ENLISTED RANKS—WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT IN 1893. A TIME CAPSULE WAS PLACED WITHIN THIS FOUNDATION ON 13 OCTOBER 1993 TO BE OPENED IN THE CHIEFS’ BICENTENNIAL YEAR 2093.
THE CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS SERVING IN THE 1993 CENTENNIAL YEAR ARE HONORED TO PASS IN THESE ITEMS REPRESENTATIVE OF OUR FIRST 100 YEARS OF SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY AND OUR NAVY TO THE CHIEFS SERVING IN THE 2093 BICENTENNIAL YEAR. AS WE LOOK TO THE FUTURE, WE PLACE OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN YOU TO CARRY OUT THE TRADITIONS OF LEADERSHIP, PRIDE, AND PROFESSIONALISM, AND CONTINUE TO ‘SET THE TONE.’
OUR SALUTE AFFIRMS OUR TRUST IN YOU—THE FUTURE CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY.”
Two Navy 5” 38 shell casings were threaded to fit together to form the time capsule.
The time capsule contents are:
Roster of all US Navy ships on active duty as of 4/1/1993
Roster of all Chief Petty Officers on active duty as of 4/1/1993
Demographics of the Navy on 4/1/1993
Roster of all new 1993 Chief selectees
A Chief’s cap device circa 1893
Diary kept by Chief Glenn Ecklund from 1937-1957
Letter from MCPON Hagan
Letter from CNO ADM Frank B. Kelso II
History of Chief Petty Officer Grade
“Winds of Change” history of the Office of the MCPON
Newspaper clipping about one of first selected Master Chiefs
Tie presented to retirees and transferring members from Service School Command Orlando’s CPO Association
First design of cuff links worn by the MCPON
Dress blue rank insignia for MCPON
Diploma from last class to attend CPO Academy at NAS Pensacola
Message from Delbert Black, first MCPON
Certificate of appointment for first MCPON
Uniform devices worn by CPO in 1993
Winning essay 1993 CPO Initiation Selectee “Why I Want to be a Chief”