Steel assembly is centerpiece for CPO training and induction
LIKE MANY BOILERMAKER lodges, Local 154 (Pittsburgh) occasionally gets an unusual request for services because of the special skills of its members. That was the case last year when a call came in to build a Navy anchor. The specifications were odd, to be sure. This would be a seven-piece anchor that could be assembled and carried by hand. And it would be made of plate steel.
Chief Petty Officer Matt Lohr, 31, an 11-year Navy veteran, made the request. Lohr has worked as an apprentice Boilermaker with Local 154 and has many relatives in the trade. His stepfather, Dan Quinn, is the local’s secretary-treasurer.
Lohr, who is part of the Naval District Washington (NDW) Chief Petty Officer Mess (a group of senior-ranking enlisted Navy personnel), was helping plan the training and induction of new chief petty officers. The CPO rank is represented by a gold “fouled anchor” ― an anchor caught up in its own line. Lohr decided to use the fouled anchor to symbolize the Seven Guiding Principles (such as loyalty and professionalism) identified by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. To give Local 154 a model for the anchor, Lohr sent the lodge his collar insignia.
“I wanted a big, heavy, steel anchor,” Lohr said. “The Boilermakers went all out to build it. I was getting updates almost weekly. They’re just an awesome bunch of guys.”
Signatory contractor Minnotte Manufacturing offered its plasma arc machine to cut the seven anchor pieces. L-154 members then welded brackets and wing-nut attachments on the back side for assembly and titanium rings to hold the anchor rope. With a coat of paint, the anchor was ready for the Navy.
“When you put the seven pieces together, it looks like one big CPO insignia,” Lohr said.
During the final night of the training and induction process last September, at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., more than 60 new CPOs ― wet, hungry, and exhausted from lack of sleep ― charged up a muddy hill with the Boilermaker-made anchor in a representation of their faithful service and time-honored traditions of the U.S. Navy.
“It worked out really well,” Lohr said. “This is a big deal for new CPOs. “You get your anchor insignia, indicating your CPO rank. It’s somewhat like pledging a fraternity, but with a lot of training and naval tradition included. This is something the Navy does each year around the world, wherever the Navy operates.”
L-154’s Quinn says the anchor has generated a lot of excitement and has made the rounds in Navy circles, including a stop at the Pentagon and the Washington Navy Yard — home to the Commander, Naval Installations Command (CNIC), the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), and other Navy commands. The anchor is now on display in the new CPO Mess located in the Navy Yard, where Chief Lohr is stationed. It will remain there until it is needed for the next CPO training and induction process in the National Capital Region.