Helena Sailor, L.A. Native Selected for Competitive Naval Officer Program
KITTERY, Maine - Having a little more than five years in the Navy, USS Helena's 23-year-old Machinist's Mate 1st Class Ivan Reyes, of Los Angeles, Calif., has already reached every goal he had set upon entering the Navy. He has experienced the world and received the foremost training society has to offer. Now, he has the chance to further his education while experiencing the officer side of the Navy. Reyes was selected for the Seaman to Admiral 21 (STA-21) Program, a highly-competitive program for which many apply, but few are selected.
The news was delivered by his Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Paul Dinius. Upon hearing that he had been selected, Reyes commented, "I'm thankful the Navy and the people I've worked with have afforded me the opportunity to achieve every goal I had set for myself within this organization."
Reyes, who reported aboard the Los Angeles class attack submarine in April 2007, began the application process last December, which included a myriad of interviews and tests. Now selected, he awaits orders to the Naval Science Institute (NSI) in Providence, R.I., where he will complete his required Naval Science course work. Upon concluding the curriculum at NSI, Reyes will class up with a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) unit, earn his Bachelor's Degree and subsequently his commission in the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer.
The mission of the STA-21 program is to offer qualified enlisted sailors the ability to move into officer ranks. According to the STA-21 website, when Sailors today hear the term "Seaman to Admiral", no doubt former Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Boorda comes to mind. As a product of an enlisted-to-officer commissioning program in the early 1960's, Admiral Boorda was the first CNO to have risen from the enlisted ranks. The Integration Program, as it was then known, was designed to provide an opportunity for enlisted personnel who possessed outstanding qualifications and motivation for a naval career to obtain a commission. Upon assuming the duties of CNO, Admiral Boorda immediately reestablished the historic program, Seaman to Admiral, for young Sailors to earn their commission and become naval officers. The admiral believed "people should have the opportunity to excel, and be all they can be, even if they don't get a perfect or traditional start."
Since its rebirth in 1994, the STA program has undergone several changes to meet the needs of the Navy and Sailors, but the spirit embodied by Admiral Boorda remains intact. STA has always been a commissioning program in which participants maintain the pay, benefits and privileges they enjoy as active duty Sailors, and receive a scholarship to attend a top-notch university. Each of these Sailors goes on to rewarding careers as naval officers.
- USN -