CPO Time Capsule
As visitors to the Navy Memorial approach the entrance to the Naval Heritage Center they will notice, on the nearest of six flagpoles, a bronze plaque marking the site of the Chief Petty Officer Centennial Time Capsule. A significant component of the Navy Memorial, this time capsule honors the Navy's senior enlisted leadership from 1893 to the present.
From a small meeting in the summer of 1993 the idea of the Chief Petty Officers' Centennial Time Capsule idea was born. A group of chief petty officers, Master Chief Ocean Systems Technician Jane Wright, Chief Navy Counselor Debbie Bowers, Chief Hull Maintenance Technician (Surface Warfare) Kathy Hansen, and Chief Hull Maintenance Technician (Surface Warfare) Michael Blanchard spoke with the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Master Chief Electronics Technician (Surface Warfare) John Hagan, to propose the time capsule as a commemoration of the upcoming centennial anniversary of the Chief Petty Officer rate in April 1993. Estimates for the capsule ranged from $2,000 to $5,000. Chief Hansen, who only recently had finished a project to create the Chief Petty Officer Centennial Bell for the Navy Memorial, knew that support for such an amount would be hard to come by.
When Chief Blanchard discussed the dilemma with retired Master Chief Navy Counselor (Surface Warfare) Dave Michael at the Navy Memorial, Master Chief Michael suggested using two five inch 54 caliber shell casings he had from USS Capodanno (FF-1093) to make the time capsule.
Chief Blanchard saw that the casings were too narrow in diameter at the open end to place some of the proposed items, so he cut off about six inches from each with a hacksaw. The 1993 chief petty officer selection list had just been published, so local CPO selectees were assigned the task of polishing the brass shell casings.
A chief machinery repairman, detailer for the MR rating, designed a threaded coupling that could be welded into each casing, enabling the two be screwed together and sealed after the contents were placed inside. The design was then faxed to the R-2 Division of USS Emory S. Land (AS-39) homeported in Norfolk, Virginia.
Once the coupling had been machined, Chief Blanchard drove to Norfolk with the two pieces of shell casings. The coupling fit perfectly, so Emory S. Land's R-1 Division (26A) shop welded each of the coupling sections onto its casing. These two casings could now be joined together as one capsule.
A group of chiefs at the Pentagon worked with the Washington Navy Yard to place the contents into sealed bags to ensure long life. Each end of the capsule was filled completely. There were so many items included that, after the capsule's internment, plastic zip lock bags were placed on top of the capsule prior to cement sealing.
On the Navy's Birthday, October 13, 1993, the time capsule was implanted in the flagpole abutment located just outside the Navy Memorial's Naval Heritage Center entrance. Chief petty officers of the Washington, DC Seabee detachment fabricated a davit arm, which was bolted to the abutment. Sailors of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard made a fancywork sling that was rigged to the davit to lower the time capsule into its resting place.
With over 100 chief petty officers looking on, Chief Blanchard then lowered the time capsule while eight bells were struck on the Chief Petty Officer Centennial bell. Retired Chief Boatswain's Mate Mac McWorther, age 92, was in attendance in full khaki uniform and assisted in spreading the cement to seal the tomb. A Chief Petty Officer Centennial paperweight was placed in the cement. The following day the flagpole was mounted on the abutment. A brass plaque now adorns the pole at eye level to denote the capsule's location and when it is to be opened.
During the early phases of the project, a Navy-wide message had been sent informing the CPO community of plans to create this time capsule. The monetary support of regular and reserve chief petty officers enabled the completion of the time capsule, the flagpole that rises above it, and the commemorative bronze plaque mounted on the pole.
The Plaque Reads:
Chief Petty Officers'
Centennial Time Capsule
THE RANK OF CHIEF PETTY OFFICER . THE SENIOR POSITION AMONG NAVAL ENLISTED RANKS WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE NAVY DEPRATMENT IN 1893. A TIME CAPSULE WAS PLACED WITHIN THIS FOUNDATION ON 13 OCTOBER 1993 TO BE OPENED IN THE CHIEF'S BICENTENNIAL YEAR, 2093.
THE CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS SERVING IN THE 1993 CENTENNIAL YEAR ARE HONORED TO PASS ON THESE ITEMS REPRESENTATIVE OF OUR FIRST 100 YEARS OF SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY AND NAVY. TO THE CHIEFS SERVING IN THE 2093 BICENTENNIAL YEAR, AS WE LOOK TO THE FUTURE, WE PLACE OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN YOU TO CARRY OUT THE TRADITIONS OF LEADERSHIP, PRIDE AND PROFESSIONALISM AND CONTINUE TO SET THE TONE.
OUR SALUTE AFFIRMS OUR TRUST IN YOU . THE FUTURE CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY.
Time Capsule Contents
- Roster of all Navy ships on active duty as of April 1, 1993
- Roster of all Chief Petty Officers on active duty on April 1, 1993
- Roster of new 1993 Chief selectees
- An original Chief's cap device
- A diary kept by Chief Glenn Ecklund from 1937 to 1957
- Letter from the current Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
- Letter from the Chief of Naval Operations
- History of the Chief Petty Officer Grade
- Winds of Change: history of the office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
- Newspaper clippings about one of the first Master Chiefs selected
- Tie presented to retirees and transferring members from Service School Orlando's CPO Association
- The first design of cufflinks worn by MCPON
- Diplomas from the last class to attend the CPO Academy at NAS Pensacola
- Message from Delbert D. Black, the first MCPON
- Certificate of appointment from the first MCPON
- Uniform devices worn by the CPOs in 1993
- Winning essay 1993 CPO Initiation Selectee: " Why I Want to be a Chief"