By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW) LaTunya Howard, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs Office
MILLINGTON, Tenn. — For Sailors who thought the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) exam was just for entry into the Navy, think again.
Leadership from the USS Makin Island (LHD-8), based in San Diego, Calif., said low ASVAB scores minimize Sailors’ conversion options in Perform-to-Serve (PTS)/Fleet Rating Identification Engine (RIDE). To maximize Sailors’ rating conversion options, the ship has begun an ASVAB improvement course called the ‘Makin Island ASVAB Academy.’
“Our senior leadership wanted to come up with ways to aid our Sailors in PTS/Fleet RIDE,” said Chief Navy Counselor (SW/AW) Jessie Curry, education service office, USS Makin Island. “We are always striving to develop our Sailors personally and professionally. Navy College did away with the old instructor-based ASVAB refresher course, it’s only online now. After a few focus meetings, the academy was the idea we decided to run with.”
The academy is a two-week-long course taught on the ship by officers and chief petty officers onboard.
“We purchased our course material from a local bookstore,” said Master Chief Navy Counselor (SW/AW) John Leavitt, command master chief, USS Makin Island. “We started the recruitment process for instructors within our educational services office and with degree-holding officers and chiefs onboard. Each instructor was given an opportunity to develop their own curriculum based on their subject matter and we asked for feedback from the participants to tweak their presentation.”
Class participants were Sailors who needed to improve their ASVAB scores to remain competitive and those who wanted to prepare for the Scholastic Assessment Test, a college entrance exam.
Sailors with low ASVAB scores, particularly in verbal expression (VE), arithmetic reasoning (AR) and word knowledge (WK) are encouraged to enroll. Completion of the course enables them to retake the ASVAB exam, which can better qualify them for conversion to undermanned ratings.
“We made posters and started hanging them around the ship to advertise the course,” said Curry. “We brought Sailors into our offices that were in danger of being processed-out due to PTS/Fleet RIDE or who we knew had low ASVAB scores and talked to them about the advantages of taking the course.”
Curry said the course improves marketability in PTS/Fleet RIDE which will allow more Sailors to stay Navy. Additional course benefits include increased math and English proficiency, improved personal and professional development, and potentially increased scores in Navy-wide advancement exams.
“We identify those Sailors who need help during the initial check-in process, the first career development board or through the PTS/Fleet RIDE input,” said Curry. “Their ASVAB score is the number-one factor in pursuing another job, especially if he or she is in a Career Reenlistment Objectives (CREO) three category.” CREO refers to the manning levels for all Navy ratings and is a consideration for Sailors requesting PTS approval. CREO categories are identified in one of three levels:
*CREO 1 rates are undermanned.
*CREO 2 rates are manned at desired levels.
*CREO 3 rates are overmanned.
The command career counselor can help Sailors understand the benefits of reviewing their CREO information and can provide Sailors with guidance throughout the PTS process.
Commands interested in starting an ASVAB academy can reference MILPERSMAN 1236-010 for guidance.
“There isn’t an instruction for getting started at this point,” said Curry. “We are the first command to offer this course shipboard. Since we’ve started, other ships have contacted us for course information.”