What is an Honorary Chief Petty Officer and who can become a Honorary Chief?!

ANSWER: By regulation, only the MCPON may authorize the recognition of an individual as an Honorary Chief Petty Officer.

An individual just can't be recommended by anyone, well they could however, the recommendation has to be initiated by a Command Master Chief, Chief of the Boat, Command Senior Chief, or Senior Enlisted Advisor.

The recommendation needs to be backed by substantial factual data regarding the individualís continuing involvement with the Navy's Chief Petty Officer's Mess, as well as justifying actions that exhibit the nomineeís advancement towards the professional objectives of the CPO Mess as well as demonstrating the principles consistent with the CPO Mess.

The recognition of Honorary Chief Petty Officer is intended to recognize a sustained contribution, not just a single act. The idea is that the individual has been and still is constantly contributing to the collective CPO community, enlisted force and the Navy.

The title of Honorary Chief Petty Officer is in nature symbolic, there is no pay associated with it, nor is the individual eligible for any veteranís benefits.

This recognition isnít restricted to celebrities, nor prior enlisted Navy.

Department of Defense Civilians are eligible for this honor. Commissioned officers have been recognized as an honorary CPO. Even members of the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force may be recognized as an Honorary CPO.

Even children may be recognized as an Honorary CPO, in special cases, the youngest individual to be recognized was Diego Enrique Santiago, who received this honor at the age of 5 years old.

Diego was 5 year-old child who was at the time battling lung cancer, a battle that, sadly, he lost. But his wish was to be just like his dad, a Chief Petty Officer.

Politicians can also be honored as a Honorary Chief - Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus was recognized as an Honorary Chief in 2010.

The idea being thatís appreciation from the Chief Mess as a whole, and not to divide the recipients based on current or prior rank.

However, we do have a couple of Honorary Master Chiefs and ONE of them being Honorary Master Chief. Robert Stetham. Robert Stetham who was made an Honorary Master Chief in 2010.

The Office of the MCPON is tasked with creating and displaying a log list for all Honorary Chiefs, with information as their name, whether or not they had prior service in the military, and the date they were recognized.

However, at the moment, this log seems to be specifically hard copy in the MCPON's office. There's no public list.

Also the United States Coast Guard also has an Honorary Chief designation, with pretty much the same requirements. And, like the Office of the MCPON, the office of the Master Chief of the Coast Guard is also tasked with maintaining a log of individuals recognized.