Michael and Diana Flowers are, in many ways, a typical Navy couple. They didn't meet until they were already in the Navy. They each enlisted in 1997 and moved up the ranks in their respective careerfields, Michael as a cryptologic technician (maintenance), Diane as an operations specialist. Both were promoted to chief petty officer in 2007 and served aboard USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), where they met in April 2008.
"When we met, we obviously had a lot in common," Michael said. "We hit it off." They married in October 2009.
However, the Flowers are anything but average Sailors. On June 30, both were frocked to senior chief petty officer during a ceremony aboard Naval Base Coronado. Michael is stationed at Naval Special Warfare Support Activity 1, and Diana serves aboard USS Dewey (DDG 105), but the couple was able to pin on their new collar devices at the SA-1 compound with members of both commands present.
"This is the highlight of the job," said Cmdr. Mikael Rokstad, commanding officer, USS Dewey, who traveled to SA-1 for the occasion. "It's one of the privileges of being in command to see your Sailors succeed."
"Within our Navy there are special moments and unique people, and at times these two forces collide," said Lt. Cmdr. Dave Ducazau, executive officer, Naval Special Warfare Support Activity 1. "The fiscal year 2014 senior chief promotion board highlighted this."
Advancement to senior chief petty officer is the first promotion in the Navy's enlisted ranks based entirely on leadership performance. For this reason and others, adding a silver star above a fouled anchor is a significant milestone.
"Honestly, I'm still in shock that I made it," Diana said. "We've both been waiting a while to put on senior chief," said Michael, "so it's been an amazing experience."
With 16 years in the Navy and multiple ship deployments under her belt, Diana said she looks forward to spending more time with the couple's three children after she leaves military service. Michael is planning to stay in the Navy as long as he can. He said he still looks forward to coming to work because of the quality people he meets and can mentor.
"I'm a lifer," he said. "It all boils down to the Sailors. I love the diversity. You meet someone new every day."
Both Michael and Diana said being in a dual-military marriage has its challenges, but that succeeding at home and at work is still possible.
"Always work hard and do your job, and good things will come," Diana said.