SAN DIEGO – The 2012 Retention Excellence Award, also known as the “Golden Anchor Award,” was presented to USS Benfold (DDG 65), an. 23.
Benfold’s executive officer, Cmdr. Michele Day, confronted the ship’s deck division informing them of their poor choice in color for the ship's anchor. According to the XO, the freshly painted anchor was not up to standard and needed to be re-worked. "Not up to standard?" The deck team wondered. "Gold," said the XO. "It's not gold!"
Benfold earned the privilege of painting her anchors gold as a recipient of the 2012 Retention Excellence Award. The honor recognizes a command’s exceptional efforts in Sailor retention, and other related criteria. “This award is for every Sailor on board Benfold,” said Cmdr. Rich LeBron, Benfold’s commanding officer. “Our family environment doesn’t come from just one or two people; it takes the whole crew to create a positive atmosphere and foster a command environment in which Sailors want to continue serving.”
USS Benfold just returned from a seven-month deployment to 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. While deployed, 26 crew members reenlisted. A strong emphasis was placed on defeating Sailor attrition by encouraging open communications, fitness, healthy living, and an active role to discourage Sailors from making destructive decisions. Benfold also provided professionally taught seminars aimed at helping Sailors cope with the usual stresses that accompany deployments. As a way of recognizing the Sailors who reenlisted, Benfold ensured that those who reenlisted on deployment were the first across the brow on homecoming day. “It was a honor to be one of the first Sailors to walk across the brow,“ remarked Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jocolbia Johnson. “It was definitely a proud moment for me and my family. I am honored to continue serving and they are committed to supporting me every step of the way."
USS Benfold, is an Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, and Ballistic Missile Defense ship based in San Diego. Her crew is preparing for exercises with international partners before heading to a maintenance period this summer where the latest upgrades will be installed to her combat systems suite.