Congrats to your family! This is an exciting time. His promotion to Navy Chief Petty Officer took a lot of hard work and dedication. I’m sure he was nervous and furiously refreshing the Navy Advancement Page and the Goat Locker (or maybe that was just my husband?).
Once your husband advances to E-7, he will have many more responsibilities (and a spiffy new uniform!). His pinning ceremony will be mid-September with the Khaki Ball to follow shortly after. He first has to get through “CPO 365” formerly known as “induction season” formerly known as “initiation”. -Note, the name of this program will always change but as of 2014 it is “CPO 365”
My now-husband made Navy Chief when we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Back then, I had NO idea what to expect when he said “I’m going to need your help and support for induction season”.
Without revealing too much, there were a lot of tasks and events my husband had to go through. He would go to work early in the morning when it was dark out, and then come home late at night when it was dark out. Weekends? Forget about it. There was always a fundraiser he had to be at or some fellow selectee he had to help out.
Back then, as a Navy significant other newbie, I was extremely frustrated during this time. I hated that he was there but “not there”. I hated that his “Navy Chief” brothers seemed more important to him than I did. Excuse me while I play my tiny violin.
Before I knew it, those six weeks were over with. By the time his pinning ceremony came around, he had lost a good 10lbs and his voice was hoarse. He made it. We made it. I only snapped at him a few times. Nothing he can’t get over. The pinning ceremony was one of the proudest times in his life. I could see it in his face when those anchors were pinned on and he put on his cover. As soon as he rung the bell, he had the biggest sigh of relief and accomplishment.
It was then time for the Khaki Ball. Time to let loose and celebrate those hard six weeks. Seeing all of those chiefs proudly pose for a group picture(albeit slightly inebriated) really did make it seem like a brotherhood. Aside: all of those fundraisers and car washes and I still have to pay $30/ a person for some dry chicken? End of Aside.
When I asked fellow Chief Petty Officers wives what advice they have for future CPO selectee spouses, here’s what they said.
Or if you want the top 10 pieces of advice, scroll to the bottom of this page:
“The best piece of advice I can give is: be patient. This goes for the spouse as well as the selectee. Induction season is long and there is a lot of information to learn and put into practice for the new chiefs. It requires long hours and your new chief will likely be frustrated and irritable. It will be frustrating for you, as well, especially if you have children. Just think of this process as a mini deployment. Your spouse will be gone a lot and even if he/she is home, it’s likely they will be occupied with tasking. As cliche as this is, our job is to make sure they have nothing at home to worry about so they can do their job.”
“Stay positive! Try to help in whatever way you can. Be supportive.”
“Patience, encouragement and lots of love.”
“They are going to be very busy, and not very able to concentrate on important or drama so keep it on the low and take care of everything that you possibly can for them. Offer food and drinks!!”
“Patience and understanding are the best things you can give your sailor now that they have reached this amazing milestone in their career! They will be gone a lot doing many different things required of them during this time. Understand they aren’t in charge of scheduling any if it. They are going to be testy and grouchy and maybe even seem a little disconnected but it’s because there is so much going on for them. And know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s only a short time in the grand scheme of things!”
“As a family, support everything he does. The car washes, the fundraisers-go as a family, but know he will be busy. Use the support network (the sponsor and the command), and take pictures. Have fun, remember that while its seems SO serious, hard, and like it has no purpose, remember, the chief will look back on those six weeks with pride for the remainder of their life. Its a brotherhood for them, but also for the spouse, its a sisterhood!! Don’t lose your lower ranked friends (as the spouse-he may have to give up some of the relationships developed in his workspace due to possible impropriety). DON’T wear your hubbys rank, and remember, its JUST a job.
“Treat it like he’s underway for 6 wks and you’re a single parent. You will hardly see him, and when you do he will be tired and frustrated. I’m prior service so when he would whine, I would tell him get a straw and suck it up. It might sound mean and unsupportive but he needed to hear that.”
“Be ready for long days and longer nights. Be as supportive as possible and whatever happens don’t give up on your spouse. This is a once in a lifetime thing and although it may seem like it’s taking forever it will be over before you know it!
“It cost us a lot of money. If i had known that i would have saved up just in case. Even the uniforms, the credit program is great but the extra cost was not in our budget and we had no choice.
“Be supportive. Offer to host a yard sale, cook dinner, send in snacks, etc for the Selectees. If your spouse is home all of the time, ask what he is doing home, because they shouldn’t have that much down time! Sometimes spouses don’t believe that their significant others are really working this much. Yes, they are! Make sure they have good running shoes.
“Reach out and take the support from other selectee spouses and mess spouses. I know I wouldn’t have survived induction were it not for my bestie holding me together. Be ok with the long hours and not seeing them for 6 weeks, encourage them to build the team bond with their fellow selectees, and always be positive.”
“ It’s completely normal for everything they’re doing to make absolutely NO sense. Don’t stress out about it. It’s going to seem like they are tasked with impossible things. They’ll manage to get through it. Be supportive and positive and remember that it’ll all be over in September!”
“They will get frustrated, angry, be extremely tired and feel like they can’t do anything right. Be their number one cheerleader and keep encouraging them through the whole process. There will be times that it feels like they are taking it out on you, but it isn’t you, it is the process. Make memories, laugh, be as involved as you can, or want to and most of all, no matter what through all of it, HAVE FUN!”
“Similar to the pre-deployment spats, you both may find tempers shorter than usual. Recognize it for what it is, stress, and try to let it go. Post nothing on social media that hasn’t already been reported, and confirmed, on CNN. Make sure you have your spouse’s sponsor contact info. Network with other selectee spouses. Never be afraid to let the sponsor know if you think your select is at a critical point (might snap), they want these guys safe! And above all else, know that this will all be worth it when you see them marching into that pinning ceremony.”
“Be patient and understanding. I made all his meals prior and had his laundry done and packed so he just got up and went. I pretended he was deployed. That way I had no expectations of help around the house.”
“Patience. You have to understand he/ she is not controlling when they come home. Explain to your child/children why dad/ mom isn’t home and you may go days without seeing them. I had to answer that question a lot. My husband slept for days after the induction.”
“Yes, it sucked, yes he missed out on the first day of preschool, but whatever happens, it’s only 6 weeks long and the end result is well worth it. Be prepared to explain it to your kids too”
“It doesn’t last forever – you will survive – your Chief select will survive – enjoy the Khaki Ball!”
“please please keep your husbands venting to yourself. I watched a woman single handily ruin her husband putting his anchors on because she took his venting way to personal and took it to his command. They will get yelled at they will get very little sleep during induction but this is the most wonderful time in their career for them and for you as their supporter. Its more than worth the sacrifices y’all will make and the experiences you’ll go through as a couple and theirs as a chief after pinning is like no other! So remember have a blast because this only happens once!!”
“Treat it like a deployment. Long days & late nights. Support & encourage him best you can while still “running the ship”. Have food available for him to heat up when he does get home. Wash his laundry separately. Buy extra laundry detergent, etc… it will take multiple washes. Remember this too is a sacrifice but no more than the many sacrifices it took for him to be selected.”
“My biggest advice is “do not buy ALL the uniforms right away”. Only buy what is needed. My hubby waited to buy choker whites right up until he needed them…which was almost 3-4 years after he made Chief. I know they are awesome and the Chief Selects love them…but they are expensive and usually unnecessary for most!”
“ I tried to not add any more stress to his life. The things they have to do may seem ridiculous, but there is a purpose. Don’t get mad at him/her for things they can’t control, don’t be upset if you cook dinner and he/she goes straight to bed after they gets home. It will pass and hopefully he will learn a lot from the experience!!”
“Be their rock and listen. They go through so much and sometimes they just need to bitch about it. You don’t have like it or even understand it, just be there for them and listen. The actual ‘season’ has changed so much and really gotten watered down from what it used to be, but it still feels horrible for those going through it. I know I have thought it, but we all need to remember that despite the changes it is still hard on new spouses and to try and not compare it to our seasons. Especially if it was before this 365 thing because it was pretty different.
“My advice is for you to give them a free pass to be stupid. Because they WILL lose their brain cells at some point. Just muscle through the next few weeks and try to keep all the basic needs supported (food/water/hugs)while not going crazy yourself. They will get thru it….and so will you.”
“Have fun with it. There are some things that they can’t get to, so help out with it. Now before people start saying we aren’t supposed to, and it’s about time management, yes, but I’d rather help than see him stressed. So I helped and it was fun for both of us. I felt involved and he had few minutes to chill.”
“And don’t forget to help with his memorization. That always makes for a fun time and a great memory. “
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