USS BATAAN, At Sea --
A U.S. Marine, assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is participating in the Navy’s chief petty officer induction aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5).
Staff Sgt. Daniel Middleton, the 22nd MEU force reconnaissance platoon operations chief and gunnery sergeant selectee, is participating in this year’s induction while he is deployed aboard the ship.
Though the U.S. Marine Corps has long had close ties to the Navy in both tradition and history, gunnery sergeants, the Marine Corps’ chief petty officer equivalent, do not regularly participate in Navy Chief Petty Officer induction process.
“It’s very unusual to have a Marine go through the induction,” said Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist Eric Twining, Bataan’s co-chairman of the chief petty officer induction process. “It’s an honor, for the Navy and Marine Corps, to have a Marine participate.”
Middleton requested permission to participate in the induction process through the senior enlisted leadership of both the Bataan and the 22nd MEU.
Middleton says his father-in-law is a retired chief petty officer who served as a hospital corpsman in Vietnam.
“I felt like I wanted to do it out of respect for him,” said Middleton. “Then I realized that I’m becoming part of a brotherhood and I’m gaining more than I ever could have imagined.”
When a Sailor becomes a chief, they assume significantly more responsibility. They are expected to be the subject matter expert, the mentor and the trainer. It is also the chief’s responsibility to help train junior officers and care for the needs of the Sailors in their charge.
The selectees have five weeks left before they enter into the tight-knit brotherhood of the “Chief’s Mess,” a name given to the exclusive group of chief petty officers aboard the ship. They will face various physical and mental challenges to assist in the transition to the ranks of the senior enlisted.
“Staff Sgt. Middleton and his fellow selectees have done an outstanding job so far, with the hardest part yet to come,” said Twining. “They’ll need to come together as a group and face every challenge head on.”
The 22nd MEU is currently deployed as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) as the U.S. Central Command theater reserve force, also providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.