PHILIPPINE SEA – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold frocked 38
first, second and third class petty officers and promoted six ensigns to lieutenant junior grade on
the ship’s flight deck, during a Memorial Day celebration May 28.
The promotion ceremony took place shortly after the crew was treated to dinner on the flight
deck as part of a steel beach picnic.
Cmdr. Leroy Mitchell, commanding officer of Benfold, gave each of the newly frocked
Sailors a frocking letter and congratulated them on their advancement.
“It’s been a great time for everyone to get together and enjoy each other’s company following
the steel beach to help pick up morale on the ship,” Mitchell said. “It’s one of the ways we can
show commitment to the crew and show how much we care for them.”
Fire Controlman (Aegis) 2nd Class Ismael Rodriguez, one of the Sailors frocked, was
appreciative of the hard work that went into making the day such a memorable one.
“It really pays tribute to what the Navy is all about,” Rodriguez said. “Getting promoted on
such a special day for the Navy and for the United States really is a great feeling, and I’m
thankful to everyone who made this day possible.”
Originally coined Decoration Day, Memorial Day was officially declared a national holiday
by Congress in 1971, when the date was moved from May 30 to the last Monday in May.
Mitchell said he was grateful to be underway with Benfold’s crew for this holiday in
“I can think of no other place I’d rather be right now than out at sea with [the crew] today,”
Mitchell said. “It’s a day to think about all the sacrifices some people have made and about all
the Sailors who gave their lives in these waters we sail in.”