Essex Sailors Recognized For Higher Education Achievements 
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher B. Janik 
SAN DIEGO - Six Sailors stationed aboard amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) were honored for their higher learning achievements at the 5th Annual Academic Military Recognition Ceremony on Naval Base San Diego (NBSD), June 7, 2013.

The event, hosted by NBSD was conducted at the Pacific Beacon and recognized a total of 135 graduates from both the Navy and Marines credited with completing certificates or degree programs from various universities and colleges throughout the country.

"It's really great to see our Sailors continuing their education while we are in the yards," said Career Counselor 1st Class Elbert Tamondong. "Having a degree helps in so many ways-from advancement points, commissioning programs and even transitioning to life after the Navy."

Essex is currently halfway through an 18-month dry dock maintenance period and the busy workload doesn't always leave the crew a lot of extra time to take college courses.

"I have been working on my degree on and off since 2005," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) 1st Class Christian Ramilo. "I started my degree out here in San Diego at Central Texas College and continued my education when I was on shore duty in Japan from 2006 to 2009. It wasn't until 2009 on [USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)] that I was able to transfer my credits to Coastline Community College and finish my degree by taking [Navy College Program for Afloat College Education] courses."

Ramilo emphasized the fact that all Sailors should try to improve their education while on active duty.

"Completing a degree program while on active duty is not easy and those who do it should be proud," Ramilo said. "In today's Navy, having a degree will be very beneficial and I always tell my junior guys to take full advantage of this dry dock period to go to school."

Ramilo earned his associate degree in general studies.

"I am very proud of the hard work and dedication our Sailors put in to accomplish their goals," said Essex's Command Master Chief Gary Mendus. "I know it is not easy to manage school along with their professional duties and I look forward to recognizing more of our Sailors as they finish their degrees in the near future."
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