PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- For most people, the term "frock" has little to no significance. For another select group of people, the term "frock" can make all the difference in the world.
Stemming from a 14th-century monk tradition, the word "frock has come to mean, to invest with priestly office or privilege. For this reason, Sailors all across the world have come to see how this word can make a difference.
On June 6, 259 Sailors participated in a frocking ceremony in the hangar bay of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).
During the ceremony, the newly-frocked petty officers received a frocking letter and were personally commended for their hard work by Capt. Buzz Donnelly, commanding officer of Ronald Reagan; Capt. Paul Lanzilotta, Ronald Reagan's executive officer; and Ronald Reagan's Command Master Chief Jason Haka.
"Advancing to the next pay grade is not a gimmie; it took a lot of determination," said Donnelly during the ceremony. "Now that your hard work has paid off, I challenge each of you to continue your excellence and motivate all the junior Sailors who look to follow in your footsteps."
While once used as a means to fill an empty leadership position, frocking now authorizes Sailors to assume the title, wear the insignia, incur the obligation and exercise the authority of the next pay grade based on the biannual advancement exam results.
"To me, having this new responsibility means being more aware of my actions and truly realizing my strengths and weaknesses," said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Vaneeka Dukes, from Memphis, Tennessee.
Dukes went on to explain how her promotion to petty officer second class has changed her leadership role.
"My impact is now more influential due to the expectations and powers appointed to me," said Dukes.
For some of the Sailors who were promoted, the news of their advancement came as a huge weight off of their shoulders.
Sailors like Yeoman 3rd Class Steven Abreucedano, from Brooklyn, New York, saw the advancement cycle much like a race.
"It required training, dedication and commitment," said Abreucedano. "No matter how long it may have taken, that finish line was waiting for you to cross and once you do, it's oh so sweet."
While few outside of the service will understand how much the word "frock" means to the Sailors that were promoted aboard Ronald Reagan, there is no doubt that, on that day, the chevrons on their collars weighed a little bit heavier and the distance in their stride got a little bit wider as they each took one step closer to becoming the leaders of tomorrow.
Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
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For more news from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.