Tripoli Sailors Meritoriously Advanced
180827-N-ZN240-059 - Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Tripoli’s (LHA 7) commanding officer Capt. Kevin P. Meyers and Command Master Chief Robyn Pierce meritoriously promote Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Matthew Ballman during a surprise ceremony August 27, 2018. Ballman was one of two Tripoli Sailors to be selected by the command for advancement to E-6 through the Navy’s Meritorious Advancement Program (MAP). Tripoli incorporates an enlarged hangar deck, enhanced maintenance facilities, increased fuel capacity and additional storerooms to provide the fleet with a platform optimized for aviation capabilities. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Julian R. Moorefield)

PASCAGOULA, Miss.-- Sailors from Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Tripoli (LHA 7), in Pascagoula, and Tripoli’s Pre-Commissioning Detachment (PCD) San Diego were recognized for their hard work, when Tripoli’s commanding officer Capt. Kevin P. Meyers and executive officer Capt. Lonnie L. Appleget surprised four Sailors with a meritorious advancement to their next rank Aug. 27.

Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Matthew Ballman, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Daniel Vilchezarrona, Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Denison, and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Darlene Alvarado were promoted to their current rank through the Navy’s Meritorious Advancement Program (MAP). “The decision process was a difficult one because we have so many high quality Sailors to choose from,” said Meyers.

While commands are allotted a limited number of quotas to fill each year, the program is intended to give commanding officers the opportunity to recognize their best Sailors by advancing them when they are ready for the next level of responsibility.

“Alvarado was working out of the administration office in the start-up phases, and I have had personnel check in thinking she was a yeoman or personnel specialist. That speaks volumes to her ability to adapt and learn,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Christopher Brown. “Vilchez is my leading petty officer (LPO) of Health Services and has led the San Diego detachment to achieve the highest readiness scores in the fleet. He was also one of the only second class petty officers as a departmental LPO in our command. There isn't much greater in the Navy than to watch those that you have led or continue to lead succeed.”

The Sailors themselves were both caught off-guard and reinvigorated by the announcements.

“I was very surprised when my name was called for this MAP. This is something (making 1st) that I have been striving for since 2012,” said Ballman. “To be recognized like this gets a lot of the weight off my shoulders. I know the chain of command didn’t have to do this, and seeing that they have confidence in me is very reassuring.”

One of Navy Personnel Command’s frequently asked questions is whether pre-commissioning units (PCU) are eligible to use MAP quotas. While they are authorized, a unit’s manning might not be properly reflected through billet authorization in the quota process. In these cases, commands may submit an exception to policy (ETP) to use current-on-board manning to determine if, and how many, quotas they may receive.

“I was unaware the command was even doing MAPs,” said Alvarado. “It feels so awesome knowing that the chain of command really does see everything that you’re doing and all the work and effort you put in on a day to day basis.”

For more information on the Meritorious Advancement Program, please visit http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/career/enlistedcareeradmin/Advancement/Pages/MAP.aspx.

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