By Julie M. Lucas
NAS Jacksonville Public Affairs

More than 1,000 chief petty officers (retired, active duty and selects) from Georgia and Florida gathered together at the Veterans Memorial Wall in Jacksonville for the third annual CPO Pride Day Sept. 8. 

This year's event themed, "Old Brass, New Anchors" kicked off with speakers such as former 4th Fleet Command Master Chief CMDCM (SW/AW) Mack Ellis.

"Pride is getting up in the morning and displaying that uniform. Pride is when you come to work early. Pride is when you do events like this that end at 1300 and go back to work to check on your Sailors," Ellis said. "Nowhere in the U.S. armed forces will find this privilege, this honor. I'm proud to be a chief petty officer."

The chiefs and chief selects recited the Sailors Creed and sang the Navy Hymn. "The Fowled Anchor" was recited by AMCS Darryl Gary.

Following the ceremony, the Sailors marched to Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena to continue the day's events. Special guest speaker Ima Black, honorary master chief and widow of the Navy's first Master Chief of the Navy, Delbert D. Black, spoke to the selects about what being a petty officer is about. 

The first event was a tug of war competition between the various command teams. The next competition was sit ups and push ups that were split between males and females. Following lunch, the cadence competition began. For some of the chief selects, the CPO 365 process helped them during the competitions.

"I have enjoyed every phase of the process and today's event is really solidifying everything for me to be ready to step up and lead," said Navy Recruiting Division Chief select BM Marshannon Garland.

Other competitions that took place were the judging of vessels and command coin design. Guest judge was former Jacksonville Jaguar football player Donald Vincent "Don" Davey. 

NAS Jacksonville won the trophy for cadence. During their performance, they formed an anchor and told the history of the Navy chief. A coffee cup tops the trophy, which will be engraved with all the names of the season's selects. 

NAS Jax brought home another trophy by ADCS Grady Banks, VP-30, for the Chief Petty Officer Association coin design, which is a hobby of his.

"I sat down with pencil and paper to draw the goat and the saying on the back we have used for years," Banks said. Some selects had seen his design and it was used on their vessels. Banks was awarded a coin display, that he plans to donate to the CPO training facility, along with all the coins entered into the contest.

Pinning ceremonies of the fiscal 2016 CPOs will be Sept. 16.