USS PELELIU, At Sea (NNS) -- Quartermasters hauled up the Silver Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) Pennant high above USS Peleliu (LHA 5) during a special ceremony Oct. 1.
The ESWS pennant joins the Silver Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) Pennant and Gold Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) Pennant already flying above Peleliu.
In order to fly the pennant, all Sailors E-5 and above who have been aboard for at least 18 months must be ESWS qualified. This is often challenging for an amphibious assault ship with a crew of more than 1,000 Sailors.
According to Senior Chief Crytoplogic Technician (Collection) (SW/AW) Loren Rucker, Peleliu's ESWS coordinator, one of the first tasks of the current deployment was to find out the warfare qualification status of every enlisted Sailor in paygrades E-5 and above currently on board in order to qualify for the pennant.
"Since deployment started, we have had 31 Sailors re-qualify and 117 Sailors received their initial qualification after holding 30 final boards," said Rucker.
The ESWS qualification process involves learning all areas of the ship, from how the ship receives supplies to explaining the components of a steam cycle. Sailors must pass a written test and an oral board made up of senior ESWS-qualified Sailors from each department on the ship. Final approval must be received from the Sailors' individual chains of command in order to be designated as an enlisted surface warfare specialist.
"Earning your ESWS pin is a milestone in your career," added Rucker. "It is something that you wear with pride. It is also something that sets you apart from your peers."
Capt. Jon M. Padfield, commander, Amphibious Squadron 3, presented the pennant to Peleliu's Commanding Officer, Capt. Marcus A. Hitchcock, during the ceremony held on the ship's flight deck.
Sailors who earned their ESWS pin on the current deployment said that there was a lot of hard work and extra study time involved in the process.
"I was fortunate enough to have a good chain of command that would let me take time during my working hours to get my pin," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class (SW) Brandon McMurtrie, who was pinned during the ceremony. "I also put plenty of my off time into studying and doing the walk-throughs."
Peleliu is the flagship of the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group (PELESG) and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit which is conducting operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The PELESG departed San Diego May 4 on a scheduled deployment.
For more news from USS Peleliu (LHA 5) - Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha5/.