Stick with me, I’ll try to ‘splain. This may be new to some (many) of you.
We’re here in Pennsylvania for two reasons, The first was to celebrate little Rebekah’s first birthday. She did fine and got some cute presents and clothes, including a dress Mimi Marti made for her. She had fun opening her presents once she got the idea that it is okay to rip off wrapping paper.
The other reason was to watch the girls while Ryan had a chance to finish his initiation rites into the Coast Guard’s Chief Petty Officer Corps. It is a longstanding tradition in both the Navy and the Coast Guard to task a newly minted Chief Petty Officer (E-7) with a myriad of things to accomplish, with the goal of educating the new Chief to better prepare him (or her) to be equipped to be a knowledgeable leader. The new Chief also has to gather from 75 or more seasoned Chiefs a written document of advice from each one that will help them in their new roles.
Of course, there is a lot of fun involved and each new Chief has to make a book to contain all the new information and words of advice as a reference. The new Chiefs make fancy binders to hold all these documents. It is a lot of work, hours of off duty time is spent in research of topics in Coat Guard history, regulations, national and personal history and so forth, collection of the advice and making the book to be a thing of pride. Ryan put in hours of his nights and weekends getting in all assembled.
Another big task as part of the initiation rites is for each new Chief to build a hatbox to hold and display his Chief’s hat. The finished hatbox is judged by the seasoned Chiefs for workmanship, quality and pride in its design.
The Chief’s hat traditionally was the symbol that separated the Chief Petty Officer from junior enlisted members, who wore the traditional sailor’s hat. Even though the Coast Guard gave up the “Dixie Cup” sailor’s hat back in 1974, the anchor on the Chief’s hat stands out.
The hatbox is to be a thing of pride. Ryan loves to work with wood so he designed and built a box to look like a pirate’s chest. He cut and glued different woods together and spent countless hours constructing it.
You can see the inlaid woods here along with brass knuckles for handles.
Because the Coast Guard is sometimes good naturedly called “Puddle Pirates” by our Navy brethren, Ryan etched into the glass top the Jolly Roger.
It also has a gear on the front to call attention to Ryan’s specialty as a Machinery Technician.
The front opens up and a shelf slides out to reveal his hat.
The finished product is a thing he’ll always be proud of.
Tonight, after all the fun of the rites of passage, there is a special, formal banquet for Ryan and our daughter-in-law Amber, along with some twenty other new Chiefs and their wives, to be welcomed into the Chief Petty Officer Corps. It goes late, so they’ll be staying overnight in Cape May, NJ while we watch the girls. They’ll be having a good time…and so will we! :c)
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