"Onward with Valor"
Benfold Sailors Celebrate Frockings and Promotions
By Ensign Dane Boudreau, USS Benfold Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO – The officers and crew of the guided missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) assembled on the flight deck to frock 22 Sailors and promote three junior officers to the next higher paygrade, May 30.

Cmdr. Kitja Horpayak, Benfold’s executive officer, announced each newly frocked petty officer as a family member or shipmate removed their old rank and pinned on their new insignia.

Many of the frocked Sailors also received further accolades in the form of Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals to the vigorous applause of their shipmates, families and friends.

Sailors frocked to the rank of petty officer first class were: Operations Specialist 1st Class Brian Dawdy, Information Systems Technician 1st Class Andrew Kelso, Fire Controlman 1st Class Saul Sanchez, and Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) 1st Class Dustin Tran were frocked as First Class Petty Officers.

Sailors frocked to the rank of petty officer second class were: Fire Controlman 2nd Class Miron Blek, Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Gilbert Delacruz, Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Leland Foltz, Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Laura Morales, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Cameron Nazarenus, Operations Specialist 2nd Class Daneish Patterson, Operations Specialist 2nd Class Kelly Piper, and Damage Controlman 2nd Class Lisa Richardson.

Sailors frocked to the rank of petty officer third class were: Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 3rd Class Daniela Alvarado, Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 3rd Class 3 Kaitlin Butler, Damage Controlman 3rd Class Horace Campbell, Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Jorge Cardona, Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Jet Manivanh, Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Jesus Manriquez, Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) 3rd Class Eric Parker, Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Lanaida Ramos, Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Brandon Teague, and Quartermaster 3rd Marissa Warner.

Immediately following the frockings, Lt. j.g. Kaitlin O’Donnell was promoted to the rank of lieutenant by Cmdr. Michele Day, Benfold’s commanding officer.   O’Donnell’s parents, visiting from Maryland, applied her new rank

insignia.  Next, Ensign Robert McClenning and Ensign Janice Ko were both promoted to the rank of lieutenant junior grade.

As the frockings and promotions concluded, Day congratulated the entire Benfold crew for their hard work during the strenuous transition from the maintenance to the training phase of the ship’s cycle, and encouraged everyone to maintain momentum with a focus on getting underway for sea trials.

“While no one here looks forward to long hours and time away from their families, we all agree that the prospect of finally getting back underway and doing what we signed up for is a thrilling prospect,” said Day during her final remarks.

Benfold is currently undergoing a CNO availability that will see the most advanced upgrades to her Ballistic Missile Defense system.

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