Reince Priebus, President Trump’s former chief of staff, has officially joined the Navy.
At a commissioning ceremony Monday morning, Vice President Pence swore in Priebus as an ensign, an entry-level officer. Priebus and his family also met with Trump at the White House after the ceremony.
Among those present for the ceremony were Sen. Ron Johnson (R), Priebus’s fellow Wisconsinite, and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, a Navy Reserve commander.
“Wonderful day — honored to be able to serve! #GoNavy!” Priebus, 47, said in a tweet. Reached by phone, he declined to comment further.
Priebus’s commissioning follows a lengthy process in which former defense secretary Jim Mattis recommended him and a board of officers selected him as a reserve officer, according to defense officials and a memo obtained by The Washington Post late last year.
In a statement submitted to the Navy, Priebus wrote that he had proudly watched his sister serve as a Navy doctor and remembered his father teaching at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois when he was growing up.
He added that he especially felt called to serve after an Oval Office meeting in which Trump met with the wife and children of Senior Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, a Navy SEAL who was killed early in the administration in a Special Operations raid in Yemen.
A Navy review board reviewed 42 candidates last December and “professionally recommended” Priebus and four others to join the service through a competitive direct-commission program for human resources officers, the memo said.
Priebus was previously chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2011 until he joined the White House, where he worked as Trump’s chief of staff for just over six months in 2017. He is also a former chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party.