SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) were frocked to the next paygrade during a ceremony held in the ship's hangar bay, Dec. 5.
Capt. Larry McCullen, Bonhomme Richard's commanding officer, individually congratulated 101 Sailors while presenting them with frocking letters.
"This is the best part of my job as a commanding officer," said McCullen. "Seeing Sailors advance and recognizing their accomplishments is always a great experience."
For some Sailors, the advancement brings a chance to reflect on their hard work, as well as a welcomed camaraderie as they join the ranks of newly appointed petty officers.
"It's really cool to see your hard work pay off," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Kylee Porter, from Yucaipa, California. "I spent a lot of time studying, as well as getting qualified in the hangar bay and on the flight deck, so that I could advance."
"The advancement really was special because I've never experienced this before," said Religious Programs Specialist 3rd Class Felipe Castro, from Nashville, Tennessee. "It's really cool to stand by your friends and see that we are doing a good job. We're working hard and it is paying off."
Sailors also recognized the opportunities for new successes that come with their advancement.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunities presented by becoming a first class [petty officer]," said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Oralia Ochoa, from El Centro, California. "One of the first things you have to do as a first class is take care of your people. If you take care of your people, they will take care of you."
Following the ceremony, McCullen congratulated the newly frocked Sailors and encouraged the ship's crew to always make a continuous effort to advance.
"I really appreciate all the hard work and effort that you put into your advancement and qualifications. I'm really proud to see you advancing like you are," added McCullen. "For those of you that did not advance this time, we are going to make time available to study and to help you improve your level of knowledge, so that we can get you advanced and we can all continue to make an impact."
Bonhomme Richard, forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, is serving forward to provide a rapid-response capability in the event of a regional contingency or natural disaster.
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