USS MAKIN ISLAND, At sea - USS Makin Island's (LHD 8) chief warrant officer (CWO) and limited duty officer (LDO) community kicked off their fiscal year 2014 recruitment campaign with briefings held April 30 and May 4 in the ship's classroom.
Dozens of potential candidates, including chief petty officers and first class petty officers, attended the brief where Makin Island LDOs and CWOs provided program information and answered questions.
"Our goal is to get the word out and expand our audience to those younger Sailors who may not be eligible today, but have the desire to earn a commission," said Lt. Cmdr. Paul Dise, Makin Island's CWO/LDO recruiting program coordinator. "It is never too early to plan for the future."
Dise said the criteria for applying to the LDO/CWO program is based primarily on performance.
"We are looking for highly motivated, chief's board eligible first class petty officers and chiefs, senior and master chief petty officers with documented sustained superior performance," said Dise.
Dise said the program briefs were open to all personnel, whether they are applying for the program this year or if they just want to learn more about the program from CWOs and LDOs on the ship.
Damage Controlman 1st Class Charles Stigall attended one of the briefs and said he is always on the lookout for ways to advance his career as a Sailor.
"The Navy has always afforded Sailors with the opportunity to progress and display their knowledge for the improvement of our Navy," said Stigall, who is applying for the LDO program this year as a surface engineering and repair officer.
"I am always looking for those opportunities and the LDO program is a direct line to enhance my leadership abilities, provide technical knowledge to the fleet, and be a part of an organization that is well respected for what they do," said Stigall.
Stigall said this is the first ship he has served on where the leadership affords the crew the opportunity to sit down with LDOs and CWOs to discuss the program.
"The process that Makin Island has given all Sailors is phenomenal," said Stigall. "I have submitted packages in the past and had to almost fend for myself with the entire process."
The briefs also provided valuable information to Sailors who have previously applied to the program, but were not selected.
Ensign Christopher Jones, an LDO on board Makin Island who spoke during the briefs, explained how he did not get picked up the first time that he applied to the program.
Jones said the experience of not being selected the first year he applied was humbling, but it did not discourage him. He said he sought recommendations from other LDOs at his command about how he could improve his submission package.
"Once I began asking the questions, I realized that the community was always willing to assist," said Jones. "The end result was a stronger package."
During his presentation, Jones offered a lot of advice of to Sailors.
"You have to have an open mind and accept constructive criticism in order to reach the goal of being selected," said Jones, who was selected the second year he applied.
Jones said becoming an LDO has been an honor and has increased his career opportunities.
"In the LDO and CWO community, you have the opportunity to take on jobs that you would never have been able to as an enlisted Sailor," said Jones. "My perspective on my career changed drastically after being commissioned. I went from considering a 20-year career to a possible 30-plus year career as a Navy captain."
The Navy's CWO/LDO program is open to enlisted Sailors in paygrades E-6 and above with a high school diploma, or its equivalent, who are U.S. citizens.
First class petty officers must complete all eligibility requirements for E-7, with the exception of time in rate and the leadership training continuum course.
Additionally, first class petty officers must achieve selection board eligibility in the annual chief petty officer advancement and have their commanding officer's recommendation.
There is no age restriction for the CWO/LDO program, but applicants must have at least eight years of active naval service, but not more than 15 years of active naval service, prior to Oct. 1 of the fiscal year applying.
Applicants must also meet physical standards and have no court-martial or civilian convictions for other than minor offenses or any non-judicial punishment for three years prior to Oct. 1 of year applying.
The requirements for applicants to the chief warrant officer program are the same, with only a few exceptions.
Applicants must have been selected as a chief petty officer, completed at least 13 years of active naval service but no more than 22 years of active service prior to Oct. 1 of the fiscal year for which they are applying.
Dise said the program criteria are subject to change in the future, so it is important to consult the latest NAVADMIN when considering applying.
Dise also said the application itself is easy to complete for the most part, and that additional information on the program will be made available to interested Sailors.
"The hard part is maintaining sustained superior performance," said Dise.
Dise said Makin Island's CWO/LDO campaign will end Sept. 30, the date all packages are due.
Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.
Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsiblity.