News Courtesy of: Jake Berenguer, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class
SAN DIEGO (December 19, 2008) - Commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) Rear Adm. Christine S. Hunter advanced in rank 172 Sailors during a frocking ceremony Dec. 3rd.
NMCSD has implemented the new frocking procedure of pinning a petty officer’s collar devices, a privilege previously only experienced by Sailors advancing to Chief Petty Officer or Officer ranks. Previously, the rank insignia had been sewn onto the sleeve of a Sailor’s utility uniform in advance and worn to the ceremony; but the introduction of the latest Navy service uniform has presented the opportunity for a new tradition of a pinning ceremony.
“I really appreciate the fact that I could have my Chief actually participate in my advancement ceremony instead of just standing on the sidelines and cheering. Having someone who has supported and guided you be able to place the higher rank on your collar is a lot more personal,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Caleb Warren.
The pride of traditional Navy advancement ceremonies is reflected on the faces of those who have shown the persistence, personal initiative and dedication required to earn the right to advance in rank. Hunter addressed and praised the 166 Sailors who had the privilege of advancing. A total of 172 NMCSD Sailors advanced; however, some were unable to attend.
According to Yeoman Senior Chief Nia Clark, Senior Enlisted Leader for Patient Administration, there is a greater sense of pride when you are "pinned" to your new rank vice "appearing" in your new rank.
“Your family, friends, or other people who mean so much to you actually get to become a part of your promotion ceremony. As our Sailors make rank, they will continue to have the opportunity to experience getting pinned and cherish those moments,” said Clark.
Frocking ceremonies are a Naval tradition that allow a Sailor to wear his or her new rank, assume a new title and assume additional responsibilities. With his or her new rank, comes the responsibility of guiding and setting an example for junior Sailors. The Sailor is held to a higher standard and is given an increased leadership role. For some Sailors, being promoted was their deciding factor for retention. Advancement renews the pride and strengthens once more the Sailor’s commitment to the Navy.
“I feel so much more motivated after all of my studying and hard work paid off. There will be bigger responsibilities coming to me that I have worked so hard to prove myself ready for. I definitely have a renewed sense of dedication and the fire I had when becoming a third class was just rekindled in a big way,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Kimberly Bartmess.
During the ceremony, Hunter praised the Sailors’ commitment and explained to family and friends in attendance that these particular Sailors have worked tremendously hard on their personal and professional development and will only continue to grow if they remain on that positive path.
Petty Officer advancement exams are held in March and September. Results are available two to three months later. Having advanced 172 Sailors in just one of the two yearly cycles is a great testament to NMCSD’s staff and chain of command, according to Clark.
“What a powerful statement we made today,” said Clark. “Our Sailors are proud to wear the service uniform and are proud to be a part of this great organization. I have heard countless Sailors state that they are ready to start studying now so they too can advance and experience the pinning ceremony. It is amazing how much of a difference our Sailor’s uniform makes in the improvement of their quality of life.”
NMCSD leadership was committed to providing the resources and guidance to Sailors that would help them to achieve a higher rank. This strong leadership and motivation from senior Sailors and staff helped this group of Sailors achieve a true milestone in their Navy careers.
“A firm commitment from the entire chain of command was definitely a factor in why our Sailors performed so well on this advancement exam. The involvement and dedication from the deck-plate leaders was very evident in the professional development of these Sailors. We believe in our Sailors and let them know that they are in control of their success and we do what it takes to help them succeed,” said Clark.
NMCSD’s First Class Association led study sessions and made study material easily available to all Sailors up for advancement. Classes were held daily Monday through Friday for 13 weeks focused mainly on professional military knowledge.
“The classes focused primarily on professional military knowledge to provide that information to all rates attending. We emailed all students the Power Points from each class and directed them to where they could easily access their own naval rating advancement information. Whether they wanted or needed the additional advancement information they got it. Based upon the numbers of advanced Sailors, our efforts helped immensely,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Remirose Pau, secretary of the First Class Association and command advancement coordinator.