Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), flagship of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), held a frocking ceremony to advance 91 Sailors to the next pay grade, Dec. 3.
As Iwo Jima steamed along the eastern sea board en route back home following a two-month exercise, Sailors assembled in the hangar bay in their Navy Service Uniforms. They anxiously awaited to stand before the commanding officer, and with a hand shake receive the designation letter officially appointing them to the next rank in their naval careers.
“Being advanced to YN2 is the best thing ever.” said Yeoman 2nd Class Jozef Berisha. “I got here as an E-1, and I will be leaving as an E-5, and I really appreciate my chain of command that guided me to this point.”
This ceremony commemorates the result of long hours of study, hard work and perseverance. These virtues demonstrate that dedication, discipline and patience do not go un-noticed.
“Overall, it was challenging; there are long work hours in engineering, and you have to find the balance between trying to study for your advancement exam and still work on different qualifications,” said Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Michael Rodriguez.
Although these Sailors celebrate a new milestone in the Navy, it marks new potential goals to achieve in the future.
“My next goal is to lead by example,” said Rodriguez. “I know that we will be receiving new firemen, and I want to set the example. I want them to look at me and say, ‘I would like to be like Petty Officer Rodriguez, and also make second class first time up.”
Capt. Joseph R. O’Brien, the commanding officer of Iwo Jima, spoke to the crew during this ceremony and congratulated them all on their hard efforts and the greater responsibilities that come with advancement.
“It’s always a great day when we can get together as a crew and recognize the achievements of those who advanced,” said O’Brien. “Everyone here is deserving of this promotion, and I look forward to seeing them grow in their new rank.”
The Iwo Jima ARG embarks the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and is comprised of Iwo Jima, amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), amphibious transport dock USS New York (LPD 21), Fleet Surgical Team 6, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staffs of Expeditionary Strike Group 2 and Amphibious Squadron 8.