SAN DIEGO - A group of 143 Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) were frocked to the next higher paygrade during a ceremony on the ship's flight deck, Dec. 13.
Frocking, a navy tradition that dates back to the early 1800s, authorizes newly advanced Sailors to wear the rank and assume the responsibilities of the paygrade for which they have been selected. However, these Sailors do not receive the higher pay until their actual advancement date, usually several months later.
Those frocked during the ceremony were congratulated by Capt. Cedric E. Pringle, Makin Island's commanding officer, Capt. Alvin Holsey, Makin Island's executive officer, and Command Master Chief Steve Alt.
During the recent September exam cycle, Makin Island achieved an overall command advancement rate of 45.83% which is significantly higher than the fleet average of 31.76%.
A total of 72 third class petty officers put on the rank of petty officer second class during the ceremony. A group of 50 seaman, airmen and firemen were also frocked to the rank of petty officer third class.
Twenty-one Makin Island Sailors were advanced to the rank of first class petty officer, a major career milestone in the Navy.
"Being advanced to the next paygrade reminds me to show the respect due to all the people who helped me come up in my career," said newly frocked Navy Career Counselor 1st Class Louis Santos Maldonado, a member of Makin Island's career counselor's office. "I will keep on charging and helping the guys that are my subordinates now excel, just like I did throughout my career."
For some junior Makin Island Sailors, the advancement to petty officer and increase in responsibility served as the motivation to continue working hard.
"It feels good, feels like I'm going somewhere, achieving things," said newly frocked Quartermaster 3rd Class Alexander Kovac, who will be joining Makin Island's navigation department after previously working as an undesignated seaman in the ship's deck department. "Now I'm going to work on my Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pin and start working on second class."
Kovac was not the only Sailor frocked during the ceremony who said he is working on future Navy goals.
"My plans, now that I've ranked up, are to get fully qualified." said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Quaniqwa Butcher from Makin Island's operations department. "I'm excited about advancing further."
At the end of the frocking ceremony, the all hands event was highlighted when Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Wills was advanced to the rank of petty officer first class as the ship's final Command Advancement Program (CAP) award recipient for 2012.
Makin Island recently returned from a seven-month deployment and was the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the ship saved over $15 million in fuel costs and the Navy expects to see fuel cost savings of more than $250 million, over the course of the ship's lifecycle. Lessons learned during Makin Island's maiden deployment prove the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation and will positively influence future ship designs for several decades.
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.