By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo R. Guzman, USS George Washington Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Three hundred Sailors were frocked to their next higher pay grade during a ceremony on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), Dec. 1.
The ship’s newest petty officer first, second and third class selectees stood in ranks and made their way onto the stage as Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington’s commanding officer, personally congratulated and handed each newly-promoted petty officer their frocking letter.
Frocking authorizes Sailors to assume the title, wear, obligation and authority of the next higher pay grade based on the semi-annual advancement exam results.
“Today we’re holding a frocking quarters to advance those who made it through the rigors of the advancement test,” said Fenton. “That is the best reason to hold a quarters, to frock the large number of Sailors crossing the stage to get advanced to the next highest pay-grade.”
Frocked Sailors carry increased authority but are not entitled to higher monetary allowances until they are actually promoted. The Navy is the only branch of the U.S. military that practices this tradition.
“It was amazing to frock all these Sailors today,” said George Washington’s Command Master Chief Jason Haka. “This was a demonstration of how much in-rate knowledge our George Washington Sailors have.”
The newly-frocked petty officers waited more than two months to find out if they would be advanced to the next higher pay grade.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking waiting for the results,” said Areographer’s Mate 2nd Class Kristena Huck, from Deming, Wash. “You forget about it while being underway because we get so busy, but I was very happy to hear the results. I feel like I accomplished a lot this underway.”
All newly-promoted petty officers third class selectees attended a mandatory petty officer indoctrination course where they learned the responsibilities of leadership. Petty officer first and second class selectees completed leadership courses that helped them learn and prepare to take on their new responsibilities.
“I’m proud to see that the Sailors here in the forward-deployed naval forces really know what they’re doing and today shows that,” said Haka. “For those that couldn’t advance, just keep studying and try a little harder. Remember to lead by example because that will gain the respect of your peers and your leadership skills will grow.”