USS PEARL HARBOR, At Sea - A Sailor aboard dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) advanced to the next pay grade and was introduced as the ship's 2011 Blue Jacket of the Year (BJOY), Nov. 24.
Yeoman 3rd Class Corey Gathings advanced in rank from seaman to petty officer third class, and received a plaque for his selection as Pearl Harbor's Blue Jacket of the Year for 2011.
Gathings, a native of Chicago, spent the last three years aboard the ship.
"It's just the beginning," said Gathings. "My next goal is to be Junior Sailor of the Year, then, Sailor of the Year."
Pearl Harbor awards a Blue Jacket of the Quarter to four Sailors every year, and at the end of the year, the four quarter winners stand before a selection board to be named the BJOY.
To qualify for BJOY, the selectees must be in the pay grade of E-3 or below and nominated by their chain of command. Gathings was a seaman when he was nominated.
"I pretty much completed every checklist I could as a Seaman," said Gathings. "I earned all my basic watch standing qualifications, but I decided to do more. I always try to go above and beyond."
Gathings is one of three yeomen on the ship. One of his primary duties includes being the only yeoman on the ship who handles legal paperwork.
"Every legal document goes through me," said Gathings. "It's a lot of responsibility. You can really mess up people's careers if you don't do it properly."
He is also one of a handful of Sailors on board qualified as a master helmsman-a specialized qualification for steering the ship during challenging navigational evolutions, like pulling in and out of ports, replenishments at sea and strait transits.
Additionally, as his department's damage control petty officer, Gathings frequently conducts maintenance on the ship's damage control gear.
"It's a collateral duty, but it can be a fulltime job by itself," said Gathings.
Gathings said he has seen a lot of junior Sailors do the bare minimum in the Navy. He said he feels those Sailors are missing out on all the Navy has to offer.
Pearl Harbor deployed Nov. 14 in support of the nation's maritime strategy, along with amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), which make up the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).
The mission of the Makin Island ARG is to help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas and provide humanitarian/disaster response as well as supporting the nation's maritime strategy when forward deployed.