CORAL SEA (NNS) – The forward-deployed Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) had the highest number of Sailors advance from the Cycle 235 Advancement Exam out of all the cruisers in U.S. 7th Fleet.
Forty-nine Sailors were recognized in a frocking ceremony held on the flight deck, May 25. Their advancement is attributed to the operational tempo of the ship, a smart phone study application created by their shipmate, and the hard work and dedication of the Shiloh administration team.
As a forward-deployed ship, Shiloh experiences a high operational tempo and long underway periods, both of which provide on the job training for Sailors to learn and practice their rates.
“The challenges faced by forward-deployed ships serving in 7th Fleet can become opportunities our Sailors can leverage in their favor for themselves, just as we have seen in Shiloh’s advancement opportunities,” said Capt. Adam Aycock, Shiloh’s commanding officer.
Shiloh provides in-demand capabilities in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, and is frequently called upon for the multiple operations throughout the 7th Fleet.
“There is only so much that can be learned from books,” said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Jennifer Gonzales, of Giddings, Texas. ”We were able to practice that knowledge due to our operational schedule and being forward-deployed.”
Shiloh’s advancing Sailors also had the opportunity to study using a smart phone application created by a Shiloh Sailor.
Sonar Technician 1st Class Marquise Hubbard, of Macon, Georgia, thought in February 2017; “How can I help increase Shiloh’s advancement rates?”
He created an application, called Shiloh Mobile and Readily-Accessible Trainer (SMART), which has resources to learn maintenance, damage control, in-rate information, and professional military knowledge.
“The app works like flashcards,” said Hubbard. “It is modern technology for the modern Sailor. Sailors are on their smartphones continuously; ours have used the app to advance their careers.”
After the initial test results were published, three additional Shiloh Sailors were found to be eligible for advancement.
Shiloh’s administration department was central to making these advancements happen.
“I missed the exam score I needed by a point and a half. I found out after the results were published that my college degree was not included in my Joint Service Transcript (JST),” said Sonar Technician 2nd Class George Sanders, of Lexington Park, Maryland. “My first classes [First Class Petty Officers] worked hard with Admin to get my college transcript electronically to JST, and within two weeks I received four extra points and made 2nd Class.”
Shiloh also had eight Sailors advance through the Meritorious Advancement Program (MAP), a program which allows the command to advance deserving Sailors who might otherwise not be able to advance due to manning quotas.
“When all was said and done, 108 Shiloh Sailors took the exam. Sixty were advanced for an advancement rate of 56 percent - that’s better odds than a coin toss,” said Aycock. “While I am admittedly biased, there is no better place to serve than in a dorward-deployed ship and Shiloh is the best among them… Sailors looking to advance their careers should definitely consider Shiloh and forward deployed naval forces (FDNF) for their next tour.”
Shiloh Sailors continue to study and learn their rates from on the job training. They will be prepared for the next round of exams in September and to continue doing great things in 7th Fleet.
Shiloh is on patrol in the Coral Sea in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.