USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, Naval Station Norfolk (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) collected its seventh consecutive Ship's Store Excellence Award in a ceremony held aboard the ship Jan. 6.
Since its commissioning in 1998, Truman has won every Ship's Store Excellence Award they have been eligible for.
"This is really a ship's award," said Deputy Commander, Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM), Capt. Arlis Ethridge. "[S-3 Division] couldn't do what they do without the crew's support."
"Seeing the crew really makes us happy and feel like we're doing a good job," said Cash Collection Agent Ship's Serviceman 2nd Class (SW/AW) James Jenkins.
The ceremony began on the forward mess decks with the introduction of the guests of honor from NEXCOM, including Capt. Bob Howe, who served as Truman's first supply officer.
Truman's current supply officer, Cmdr. John Palmer, gave some words of praise to S-3 Division before the award was presented.
"We're here to honor your great service," said Palmer. "The fact this ship is recognized as the best is because of the morale S-3 provides."
Ethridge put this amazing achievement in perspective when he put Truman in the top third of sales competing with Navy Exchange outlets throughout the world. According to him, 70 percent do not reach this benchmark.
"With $5 million in sales, Truman has brought in more than Athens' [Ga.] full scale NEX," said Ethridge.
Supply Department's S-3 Division has accomplished much more this year than just supporting two ship stores. They have sponsored numerous vendors, hosted special sales on the mess decks and coordinated supplies during a national crisis.
"I wanted to recognize $600,000 generated for [the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division], $800,000 in phone card sales and over $1 million in vendor concessions," said Ethridge. He added that their performance during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts only furthered their reputation as a well-rounded team.
For many Sales Division Sailors who just reported aboard, coming into a winning team was quickly rewarded.
"I've only been here a couple of months, but I'm really proud we won this award," said Store Operator Ship's Serviceman Seaman Alex Milts. "[Our team] is great because of the people we work with, our quality of work and our supervisors. The people in charge really take care of us. When they tell us to do something, we really want to do it."
Truman's sales officer reported aboard six months ago, but he couldn't be more proud of the team he has come into.
"The (Ship's Servicemen) on board are the reason we keep winning this award," said Chief Warrant Officer Marvin Watson. "They are willing to go the extra mile and rise to the occasion of a sometimes thankless job."
As Watson accepted the seventh award, he is already planning for the eighth.
"We're happy to receive this award, but we know the cycle starts over the next day and we must be prepared," said Watson.
As Truman enters into the shipyards for a 10-month overhaul, modifications including new vending machines and an improved Navy Cash system should make their chances of winning even better.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.