NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — The Navy made the unusual move of postponing Wednesday’s chief petty officer pinning ceremony in Rota after allegations of inappropriate conduct during the traditional initiation process.

A dozen sailors were to be promoted to the rate of chief petty officer during a formal ceremony in front of their friends and families on base, but they will now have to wait until an investigation into the incident is complete.

The Navy is investigating a report of “possible inappropriate actions” during a satirical skit at a function Thursday, said Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Braun, a spokeswoman for Commander, Navy Region Europe. The 11:30 a.m. event at the Chief Petty Officers Mess was attended by both chief-selects and chief petty officers from the base.

Braun said she could not get into the details of what exactly happened during the skit because the matter is under investigation.

“It was more of a display of something that was inappropriate,” Braun said of the allegation.

A person who attended the function and witnessed the skit notified base commanders, initiating the investigation.

Navy officials are trying to determine if the incident was inappropriate, how many people were involved and whether any further action needs to be taken, Braun said.

Chief petty officers are considered leaders of the enlisted ranks and reaching the rate is considered an honor. Hundreds of chief petty officers plan to go through the traditional pinning ceremony, or frocking, at bases worldwide this week.

In the past decade, the Navy has worked hard to change the once-raucous initiation ritual to a process heavy on education instead of drinking and debauchery. In fact, the Navy calls the rite of passage a “transition” and not initiation.

“Right now, it appears that there is a reason to investigate the allegation so that’s why we’re going through this, because it should be taken seriously,” Braun said. “The Navy takes this sort of thing seriously, especially when it involves future chiefs and our current chiefs.”

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