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Forsyth Native Earns Coveted Title of Navy Chief Petty Officer

Photo by Petty Officer Cody Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Nicholas LaRocque from Forsyth, Mo., center above, is shown during the pinning ceremony. LaRocque is currently serving with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 3. This sailor is one of only 4,400 sailors who were advanced out of 22,000 eligible this year.

By Navy Office of Community Outreach
MILLINGTON, TN – Navy Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Nicholas LaRocque from Forsyth, Mo., was recently promoted to chief petty officer, an accomplishment that only one in five eligible sailors achieve each year.
Chief LaRocque, a 1997 Forsyth R-3 graduate, is currently serving with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 3.
“A great responsibility level has been given to me in a much greater way than any other time in my career,” said LaRocque. “Once those anchors go on, I will be looked at in a completely different way. I am not just upholding standards, heritage and traditions the sight of those anchors automatically come with the expectation that I will uphold and set standards of conduct, workmanship and effort for my sailors, live by example to lead by example.”
Achieving the title of ‘Navy Chief’ is a major honor and milestone. According to Navy Personnel Command, there are only 8.5 percent of sailors currently serving at the chief petty officer rank.
To be selected for this promotion, sailors must be a petty officer 1st class, and successfully navigate through two qualifying factors: a job-based exam and a selection review board. A sailor’s record can only proceed to the review board after they score high enough on the exam. Once the exam is passed, their records are reviewed by a panel of senior navy leaders who meet for six weeks to determine if the individuals meet the standards for selection as a chief petty officer. A sailor’s performance is evaluated for at least five years, and each sailor attributes different experiences for their selection.
“Experiences that have helped my selection have to be when on sea duty, don’t pick the easy jobs, pick the harder jobs, do them to the best of my ability, take the harder assignments,” said LaRocque. “If confronted with a shore duty tour, don’t take the pack off, continue to perform. Learn collateral duties inside and out and take some classes. Always take leadership roles.”
During the ceremony, the honored sailors invite friends and family members to pin on the two gold anchors that adorn the newly appointed chiefs’ uniforms, while the sailor’s sponsor places the combination cover on their heads.
“My family instilled in me and showed me by example what real work ethic is,” said LaRocque. “My father worked in a mine, worked on heaving mining and construction equipment and does to this day. My mother worked sometimes a couple of jobs at a time, worked at a bank, as a secretary, waited tables to keep me and my brother fed, clothed and sheltered. They sacrificed so much to put us ahead in life, for that I feel I owe both them a great debt of gratitude and owe it to my family to do the same for them. I also owe it to my sailors to do right by them.”