Sailors Sharpen Skills Before Sunrise 
Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Conor Minto, Boxer Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs 
ARABIAN SEA - An hour before the Boatswain’s Mate of the watch sounds his pipe signaling for all hands to rise for the day, a handful of Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) are already awake sitting in the ships classroom, ready to learn.

“It takes extreme dedication and motivation to get up early and better oneself by attending the 5 a.m. classes six days a week,” said Chief Navy Counselor (SW/AW) Jayne Epaloose.

Epaloose is talking about the Boxer Academic Skills Class, which started Sept. 16. She is one of three instructors aboard.

While Boxer provides the teachers, Central Texas College provides the curriculum.

“This course is primarily facilitated so that our Sailors can re-take their Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) and raise their score to qualify for different ratings in the Navy,” said Epaloose.

One of those Sailors is Seaman (SW) Darwin Mendez. “I’m taking the course because I want to be a Hospital Corpsman,” he said. “I want to get a job in the medical field when I become a civilian. Being a corpsman would help and that starts right here in this class.”

The two hour long class is not only open to Sailors who want to retake the AFQT, but also any Sailor who is looking to brush up on basic math and English.

“It’s been a few years since I graduated from high school,” said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Ashley Smith. “This class has helped me get in the right mindset for taking some college courses when I’m on shore duty next year.”

The class, which is two months long, graduated its 13 students on Nov. 16 and will begin enrolling students for a new Academic Skills Class in the near future.

For more information on academic skills classes talk to your command career counselor.
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