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Strategic Sealift Officer Program

2012 Pinning Ceremony


Photograph courtesy of
Andrew Leonard Photography                  


The following article was written by a 3/C Midshipman who was receiving his Strategic Sealift Officer pin.

On Friday, November 2, 2012 I found myself standing on the stage of Rizza Auditorium along with thirteen of my peers as we received our U.S. Navy Strategic Sealift Officer Insignia. Although the insignia is actually an eagle, due to its large size, we have a tradition of calling it the Battle Chicken. As I was standing on the stage during the ceremony, I was able to take a moment to reflect on my past year here at Cal Maritime within the Strategic Sealift Officer Program.

The ceremony began with the presentation of the colors and the playing of the National Anthem. This was followed by a speech from our Commanding Officer, MIDN 1/C Steve Partridge, who spoke to the audience about the history of the insignia. Our guest speaker was CDR Mark Neale, Executive Officer at Strategic Sealift Unit 0420, who included in his speech that this was the last year this particular insignia would be issued. The ceremony continued as fourteen midshipmen took an oath of commitment to the Maritime Service, and concluded after friends and family members pinned on the Battle Chicken. I chose my brother-in-law, an active duty Coast Guard petty officer, to pin the insignia on my chest. I felt excited and accomplished when receiving my pin. This was just one of many milestones I hope to experience in my Navy career.

Although the infamous Battle Chicken may soon disappear, the Strategic Sealift Program is certainly here to stay. Each year a new group of midshipmen will commit to the SSOP, a program designed to provide a vital reserve of qualified maritime officers ready to serve the needs of the United States Navy.