Senior and Navy Reservist Virginia Matha Makes Chief Petty Officer
Virginia Matha, a senior studying business administration, was recently promoted to chief petty officer while serving in the U.S. Navy Reserves.
There is an old saying that it’s not the admirals who run the navy, it’s the chief petty officers. If so, then Virginia Matha, a senior business administration major, has just taken on a very important task.
Virginia Matha receives her insignia as a chief petty officer during a promotion ceremony in Orlando.
Matha, a U.S. Navy reservist, was promoted to chief petty officer in a ceremony on Sept. 15 at the Navy Operational Support Center in Orlando. She was one of just nine naval reservists in her job specialty to be promoted to chief.
Matha spent 9 ½ years as an active duty sailor before entering the reserves to pursue a college degree. Originally from Ohio, she joined the navy just after high school. She chose the navy, she said, because her father and grandfather were both naval veterans.
While on active duty, Matha was trained as a linguist in Korean and served in the navy’s Information Dominance Systems Command, which specializes in communications and information technology. She was stationed in California, Hawaii, and Japan.
Along the way, she earned an associate degree in Korean from the Defense Language Institute, but Matha wanted to pursue a four-year degree, so she entered the reserves and began looking for a college. Associate Vice President of Student Support Marcie Pospichal and her husband persuaded Matha to seriously consider Florida Southern.
“My parents had moved to Winter Haven, and I wanted to be near family. I looked at USF and UCF, but I loved the campus and the faculty at Florida Southern,” she said.
As a reservist, Matha continues to report once a month to the Navy’s center in Orlando for drills. She knew she wanted to continue her career in the navy, so she applied to take the chief petty officer examination.
“I’d spent nearly 10 years in the navy, and I didn’t want to throw it away. I had gotten to a level that chief was the next step,” she said.
Chief petty officers are the senior enlisted personnel in the U.S. Navy. They have responsibilities that include training both junior enlisted sailors and junior officers, the only branch of the military that gives that kind of authority to an enlisted man or woman.
In order to achieve the rank of chief, Matha had to pass a tough examination and have her records evaluated by a board of review. Only a select number of applicants are promoted.
Thanks to her associate degree and military experience, Matha is on track to graduate in May, provided she is not recalled to active duty. Now classified as a cryptologic collection technician, she was almost called up last year for a deployment to Afghanistan, but she has a two-year deferment that should allow her to complete her degree.
If she isn’t called up, Matha says she will look for a civilian job, possibly in real estate.