Bonhomme Richard Wins Golden Anchor Award for Retention Excellence
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Katherine K. Barkley
SAN DIEGO - USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), earned the fiscal year 2010 Retention Excellence Award for a second consecutive year, Feb. 18.

The Retention Excellence Award, also know as "Golden Anchor Award," is awarded annually to commands that meet or exceed the retention criteria set forth by the chief of naval operations. Along with the prestigious award, the command will be allowed to paint the ship's anchors gold when finished with the current dry-dock period.

Award-qualified commands must pass the annual Career Information Program Review with a score of 85 points or higher, meet or exceed reenlistment rates of 55 percent for Zone A Sailors (Sailors with zero-to-six years in service); 60 percent for Zone B (six-to-10 years in service); 71 percent for Zone C (10-to-14 years in service), and achieve a Zone A attrition rate of 5.5 percent or lower for fiscal year 2010.

Bonhomme Richard's Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Theodore M. Verschueren said the retention award is a direct reflection of the positive command climate aboard Bonhomme Richard. He said it is a great motivator to keep first-term Sailors reenlisting and keeps the number of disciplinary cases low.

"Many Sailors on Bonhomme Richard choose to extend their stay on board; when they do leave they feel like they received all that was promised to them by their recruiters," said Verschueren.

Verschueren said the current slow economy helped Sailors realize the benefits of staying in the Navy and helps Bonhomme Richard's retention rates stay at high numbers. However, the number of people choosing to extend their obligation to stay aboard Bonhomme Richard indicates the command is doing something right for their Sailors.

"I think a lot of people want to stay in the Navy because they are happy with being stationed on the Bonhomme Richard," said Verschueren. "We were on top in 2010 and who doesn't want to be with a winner."
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