Initiating Anchors

A close-up photograph of a combination cover belonging to one of the perspective Chief Petty Officer's at a Chiefs Call To Indoctrination ceremony for Sector Houston-Galveston, May 9, at the Hilton Hotel in Clear Lake, Texas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery)

A close-up photograph of a combination cover belonging to one of the perspective chief petty officer’s at a Chiefs Call To Indoctrination ceremony for Sector Houston-Galveston, May 9, at the Hilton Hotel in Clear Lake, Texas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery)

If there’s one certainty in life, it’s that nothing is certain. We are constantly changing, adapting and overcoming to reach goals we set. These goals can be for us, our families or the organizations we belong to. But, what most assuredly defines whether you’re met with success or failure relies heavily on choices.

Nine prospective chiefs in the Houston-Galveston area choose to embark on a six-week Chief’s Call To Indoctrination, which culminated Friday, in a ceremony proclaiming them official chief petty officers.

CCTI is a traditional rites-of-passage process that is sanctioned by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard and the commandant of the Coast Guard. The chiefs are run through a process where they learn how to network, how to be a part of the chief’s mess and operate in it effectively. They also participate in teambuilding exercises.

“Well, the great thing about the CCTI process is, it’s a choice,” said Chief Petty Officer Michael Draughon, a machinery technician from Sector Houston-Galveston, who was made an official chief during the ceremony. “You don’t have to do it; you don’t have to go through it. But for me, it’s something I’ve looked forward to since I was a non-rate. I wanted to go through it for the customs, courtesies and traditions that we’re all used to.”

Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Cantrell, the command master chief of Coast Guard Atlantic Area and slated to become the 12th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard at a ceremony later in May, gives words of advice to the new chief's, as the keynote speaker, at a Chief's Call To Indoctrination ceremony for Sector Houston-Galveston, May 9, in Clear Lake, Texas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery)

Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Cantrell, the command master chief of Coast Guard Atlantic Area and slated to become the 12th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard at a ceremony later in May, gives words of advice to the new chief’s, as the keynote speaker, at a Chief’s Call To Indoctrination ceremony for Sector Houston-Galveston, May 9, in Clear Lake, Texas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery)

The special guest and keynote speaker at the ceremony was Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Cantrell, who is currently the command master chief of Coast Guard Atlantic Area and is slated to become the 12th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard at a ceremony later in May.

Cantrell’s speech was brief and to the point. He charged the new chiefs to, “go back to your units, set good examples and lead from the front.”

“What’s important is to treat people right, and in return, they are going to trust you,” said Cantrell. “You’re a leader, now as a chief, and treating anybody with anything less than dignity and the respect that everybody deserves, isn’t acceptable. That goes for senior folks all the way down to junior folks. You’ve got to treat people right. It’s such a simple equation and it’s so important, and my hope is that is what you got out of this process.”

Gleaming with pride and with his newly pinned-on anchors, Draughon says going through the CCTI process was the highlight of his career.

A new combination cover is placed on Chief Petty Officer Michael Draughon, a machinery technician from Sector Houston-Galveston, by his wife  Rachelle Draughon, culminating the six-week Chief's Call To Indoctrination process in an offical ceremony, May 9, in Clear Lake, Texas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery)

A new combination cover is placed on Chief Petty Officer Michael Draughon, a machinery technician from Sector Houston-Galveston, by his wife Rachelle Draughon, culminating the six-week Chief’s Call To Indoctrination process in an offical ceremony, May 9, in Clear Lake, Texas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery)

“It’s such an honor to have Master Chief Cantrell here,” said Draughon. “But, him being here also means that traditions in the Coast Guard are still alive. You hear a lot of rumors that the Coast Guard’s going away from traditions. Well, having the next Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard at our CCTI in Sector Houston-Galveston just shows that traditions aren’t going anywhere and that they’re important.”

Draughon says although he doesn’t frown upon any chief that chooses not to go through the process, he hopes other junior members decide to make the choice when the time comes.

“As you’re coming up through the ranks, you are always told to take what you want from the people that lead you and then become who you want to be as a leader,” said Draughon.

Draughon says he wants to be the chief that’s approachable and hopes the people he’s led and will lead in the future will look to him at anytime for guidance.

Nine prospective chiefs in the Houston-Galveston area stand together in a ceremony, May 9, in Clear Lake, Texas, proclaiming them official chief petty's after completing a six-week Chief’s Call To Indoctrination process. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery)

Nine prospective chiefs in the Houston-Galveston area stand together in a ceremony, May 9, in Clear Lake, Texas, proclaiming them official chief petty’s after completing a six-week Chief’s Call To Indoctrination process. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery)

“When someone says, ‘go ask the chief, but make sure you ask THAT chief,’ that’s who I want to be,” said Draughon.

Although choosing to participate in the CCTI process doesn’t ensure Draughon will be “that chief,” it sets the foundation for success and propels him forward, inching him closer to attaining the goal of being just that.

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