Story and photo by MCC(SCW/SW/AW) Ryan G. Wilber, NCBC Public Affairs
Lt. Cmdr. Michael Carr (right), NMCB 1, administers the Oath of Office to SWC KaJuna Strickland. Strickland was commissioned a Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) 2 during a ceremony held at the Seabee Memorial Chapel on board NCBC Gulfport.
Chief Steelworker (SCW/EXW/IDW/SW) KaJuna Strickland, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, was commissioned a Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) 2 during a ceremony held at the Seabee Memorial Chapel on board NCBC Gulfport, Sept. 20.
The Wetumpka, Ala. native and father of two was the only Steelworker selected for Chief during fiscal year 2012 (FY-12), and he was the only Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) Warrant Officer selected for FY-14. CWO2 Christen Allgood, assigned to NMCB 133 and guest speaker for the ceremony said some people say they would rather be lucky than good, but claimed this does not apply when it comes to Strickland.
“Luck has nothing to do with it,” said Allgood. “He’s just that good.”
Rising through the steelworker ranks, with just under 13 years in service and ten deployments completed, Strickland was selected for chief petty officer, but still felt as if he had not experienced all the Navy had to offer.
“I love the Navy,” said Strickland. “I wanted to experience all aspects of being in the Navy. I wanted to experience from being a troop on up to being a chief petty officer to being an officer to doing pretty much everything I could do in the Navy.”
Strickland said he was quite surprised to be selected, applicants historically not being selected on their first submission, and this year being his first application. But, he also said he was honored to be the only one selected, and hopes to do well for the Navy and his gaining command.
“It’s amazing, shocking for the last one to get picked up to be me,” said Strickland. “I was shocked that I even got selected anyway. I’m excited about it. I just hope I can do a great job to make sure that their selection for the potential last one was a good selection.”
Cmdr. Chad Brooks, commanding officer (CO), NMCB 1, jokingly reminded Strickland that he may very well be the most junior CEC warrant officer for the rest of his career, but also praised CWOs for their role in the command and wardroom, as well as Strickland’s qualifications for joining their ranks. He said Strickland has his trust as a CO to guide both present and future Seabees as he continues his career.
“We all understand the wisdom, experience and frankly, the candor that a chief warrant officer brings to any wardroom,” said Brooks. “Chief warrant officers are trusted advisors to commanding officers and mentors to other junior officers in the unit. They have walked a mile in our Sailors’ shoes, and ensure we remain focused on the most important aspects of our profession of leadership. Chief Strickland exemplifies the high standards rightfully expected of naval officers, and will continue to shape both the future of our force and the lives of our Seabees for many years.”
In a message to the Chief of Personnel, Rear Adm. Katherine Gregory, commander, Naval Facilities Command (NAVFAC) and chief of civil engineers, proposed the disestablishment of the CWO program due to recent billet cuts within the Navy’s CEC, but said she will not submit a formal disestablishment package for three years in order to study the effects of the proposed change.
“This [waiting to submit a formal package] allows time to evaluate any unintended consequences of this change and make course corrections if necessary,” said Gregory in the memo.
Strickland will attend Officer Indoctrination School in Newport, R.I., before reporting to NMCB 133 for his first tour of duty as a naval officer.