GULFPORT , Miss. – There are many moments in life as children grow, where parents couldn’t be more proud. One such moment happened Sept. 14 here, as South Bend resident, Michael Hallahan, pinned the anchors of a U.S. Navy chief petty officer on his son, Justin.
“I told my son that I am very proud of him,” said the elder Hallahan. He said he also told him that he was very happy that his son followed in his footsteps by joining the Navy.
Now, Chief Equipment Operator Hallahan, a 2002 Adams High School graduate, has taken a monumental step into one of the oldest fraternities of which very few will ever be a part.
“I am very grateful for being selected to chief,” said Chief Hallahan during a practice for the pinning ceremony. “I have had many great mentors and sailors get me to this point of my career today.”
One of those he looks up to is his grandfather, retired Chief Petty Officer Maurice Firth, who served until 1967 and was one of the last enlisted flyers in the Navy. Although the 92-year-old Firth could not be at the pinning, his family said he was there in spirit as his grandson became a chief.
Becoming a chief petty officer is an accomplishment nearly all junior troops dream of and strive for throughout their Navy career. To make it takes hard work, dedication, sacrifice and plenty of studying. Every aspect of the chief’s career is examined and they are pitted against other sailors for a very limited amount of promotion spots.
“This is an opportunity for me to carry on the proud traditions of the chief petty officer and lead troops in today’s Navy,” said the newly promoted chief petty officer.
Chief Hallahan was notified of his selection during a deployment to Afghanistan with his Navy Seabee battalion, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 (his 8th deployment since joining the Navy in 2002). Four other petty officers first class from the battalion were also notified of their selection.
“I was in Afghanistan at Camp Leatherneck getting ready to go on a 10 day detachment when my door flung open and Chief Paul Ramirez can in and said, “ You’re late,”’ said Chief Hallahan. “I said ‘Late for what?” [Ramirez said] “Making Chief!”