JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Four chief petty officers assigned to Navy Medicine Training Support Center, or NMTSC, were promoted during the time-honored tradition of the frocking ceremony at the Medical Education and Training Campus May 26.
Family members and friends watched as Chief Culinary Specialist Bryan C. Layton, Chief Hospital Corpsman Paul Nieves-Morales, Chief Hospital Corpsman Javier Palacios, and Chief Hospital Corpsman Mary Schlunsen, donned new covers and new insignia, signifying their new rank of E-8.
“Being promoted to senior chief is absolutely a blessing,” Nieves-Morales said. “I wouldn’t have gotten to this point without my family, mentors, and junior Sailors who have been present throughout my career. I would like to especially thank my wife, Alex, for pushing me to give my all and always pursue my goals.”
Senior Chief Nieves-Morales looks forward to completing his second tour at NMTSC, contributing to delivering well-trained, ready, medical professionals to the fleet. While he defines being promoted to senior chief as a blessing, a Google search produces minimal results; a fact Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Raulito Galgana presented as a lighthearted joke to those in attendance.
“I joke because you cannot define a senior chief petty officer,” said Galgana, NMTSC’s command master chief. “The definition, responsibilities, and privilege do not appear in the fine print. Our beliefs, however, are. And now, as a super chief, the emphasis is multiplied by eightfold. So, I remind you, you are charged with a leadership role like no other in this world. More will be expected of you; more will be demanded of you.”
Senior chief petty officers make up about 2.5 percent of the Navy’s total enlisted force, with this level of advancement being based heavily upon proven leadership performance, superior evaluations, and peer reviews.
“There are moments when we do the checklist; we live by the checklist, and then when the time and reckoning comes down, the outcome and the reasons behind it are an even bigger mystery, said Case, NMTSC’s commanding officer.
“For the military, selection boards are the biggest example of this; the feeling of an ever-moving target. But one thing we do well as a military is that we bond together as a team. Even our command chant represents this; one team, one fight, bonded together, each contributing to and supporting one another, doing the job -- our mission, our Sailors," Case said. "Today, we once again bond together as that team, to celebrate those selected for the next rank. To those who didn’t select this time, we believe in you and we value you as our team members. You have purpose. Know that, believe that.”
Before returning to work and beginning to assimilate their new duties and responsibilities, NMTSC’s newest senior chiefs had a momentary respite with smiles, handshakes, hugs, and a chance to reflect on the enormity of their recent promotion.
NMTSC is the Navy component command providing administrative and operational control over Navy staff and students assigned to the Medical Education and Training Campus and other medical programs in the San Antonio area.