USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) made the retention honor roll for the first time in years July 20. This career milestone has set the standard for Lincoln and her crew of more than 5,000 Sailors, as first-term Sailors aboard Lincoln decided to 'Stay Navy,' and re-enlisted.
Commands who meet the Navy's quarterly standards for retention and attrition receive the Retention Honor Roll Award. A command must have 48 percent or higher of its first-term Sailors re-enlist. Lincoln attained 65.6 percent. Lincoln received an honor roll pennant that the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier can fly until the results of next quarter's retention honor roll.
"I think that the award itself is fantastic and is a representation of a lot of hard work of the folks on board Abraham Lincoln," said Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (AW/SW) Wynn Young of Rogers, Ark., Lincoln's acting command master chief. "The award is really an indicator of how we're doing as a command and as a Navy in retaining the Sailors that we want to retain."
If Lincoln receives retention honors for fourth quarter, fiscal year 2008, the carrier then will then earn the Retention Excellence Award. Winning that award would allow Lincoln to fly the pennant year-round and paint the ship's anchors gold.
"We have achieved a goal that we have been working toward for quite awhile on board Abraham Lincoln. We have to focus on what we're doing in the next quarter to maintain or improve upon where we are now. We have achieved a goal we were looking for, but we still want to improve and do better."
Lincoln's junior Sailors have stayed Navy more today than in the past three years noted Young. Incentives offered by the Navy contributed to this success.
The Navy has an array of incentives that benefit Sailors and make their decision to 'Stay Navy' an easy one, according to Navy Counselor 1st Class Theresa Pierson of Fayetteville, N.C., one of Lincoln's command career counselors.
"The number one incentive Abe Sailors are taking advantage of is re-enlisting in a tax-free zone. We encourage Sailors to take advantage of the selective re-enlistment bonus (SRB) entitlement while we are operating in a tax-free zone."
SRB is money paid for a particular rate or Navy enlisted classification code, which Sailors may hold. It's an incentive to re-enlist. Depending on the Navy enlistment classification award level, a Sailor's SRB can range from $5,000 up to $100,000. Lincoln Sailors received more than $1.7 million in SRBs during the third quarter, Pierson noted.
Although hefty re-enlistment bonuses are a draw for some Sailors, others re-enlist for different reasons.
"Personally, it was for my daughter. I got a good re-enlistment bonus but that wasn't the deal, it was simply because of my daughter. I know she's taken care of, thanks to the Navy," explained Operations Specialist 2nd Class Kevin Law of Manteca, Calif..
Education benefits also convince Sailors to 'Stay Navy,' like Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Levett Ruffin of Long Beach, Calif., from the supply department.
"I came in and completed my associate degree, on my way to completing a bachelor's degree, so that's one of the main perks for me staying in."
Divisional, departmental and command career counselors work each day to help Sailors make the best choices for their Navy careers.
"As career counselors, our job is to keep Sailors Navy," Pierson said.
Lincoln is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as well as maritime security operations. Operations in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.