NEWPORT NEWS, Va (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was named a recipient of the Fiscal Year 2008 Retention Excellence Award this last December, and the ship's crew is now focused on continuing this success during 2009.
The recognition for retention excellence comes as a result of Carl Vinson's success in meeting or exceeding a reenlistment rate of at least 48 to 58 percent and having an attrition rate of less than six percent throughout the entire fiscal year.
"I think a big part for USS Carl Vinson in exceeding the established benchmarks for retention has to do with the fact that our Sailors know how many great programs and opportunities the Navy has to offer them," said Master Chief Navy Career Counselor (SW/AW) Keith Turner. "We just make sure we get the word out to our Sailors as early as possible. A lot of things like reenlistment bonuses, rate conversion opportunities, and other benefits and incentives are available, and our Sailors take advantage of them."
Carl Vinson Sailors will now have the opportunity to paint the ship's anchors gold, a symbol that visually represents award-winning sea-going commands who have maintained high retention rates for their crews.
Turner said the high reenlistment and low attrition rates are a direct result of the command's policy of open communication between Sailors and the ship's command career counselors. "Gold Eagle" career counselors work proactively with all Sailors to ensure their needs are met and that they are properly informed of all career options and opportunities within one year of their end of active obligated service (EAOS).
"If you provide the Sailors with all of the information they need to weigh their decisions, they're going to make the right choice," said Turner. "We make ourselves available to them as career counselors, and even those Sailors leaving the Navy know they can come to us anytime. We're not in the business of turning Sailors away."
The award comes at a time when Carl Vinson Sailors are working hard - sometimes in unconventional roles - to bring the aircraft carrier back to life as it enters the final phases of its 40-month refueling complex overhaul (RCOH).
"A lot of our Sailors have been working outside of their rates to accomplish this overhaul," said Turner. "I think our Sailors are ready to leave the hard hats and safety goggles behind and see life at the end of the RCOH. On the deckplate level, our Sailors are focusing on getting back out to sea again. Most of them are really looking forward to it, so I think they probably want to stick around to be there when it happens."
Carl Vinson is undergoing its scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.