WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Fifteen Sailors from Reactor Department aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) reenlisted together May 8, receiving a combined selective reenlistment bonuses totaling $1,356,288.63.
Commander, George Washington Carrier Strike Group Rear Adm. Kevin M. Donegan presided over the mass reenlistment ceremony along with three other GW officers.
"Normally Sailors working in reactor departments receive an average SRB of about $62,000 when reenlisting," said Reactor Department Officer Capt. William Silkman. "But through efforts to improve manning and retention, we were given a one-time window of 90 days to increase the amount to an average of $90,000."
Reenlistment in the Navy is a major decision every Sailor has to face in their career and a significant milestone for those who choose to "Stay Navy." Silkman saw these increased bonuses as just reward for serving in demanding billets at sea.
"These Sailors work hard. They come in earlier than the rest of the ship, and they stay later to shut down the plants, when we pull back into port," he continued. "It means a lot to them to know that from the very highest levels of the program, including Adm. [Kirkland H.] Donald [Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion], that they care about that, and they're doing something to make sure we retain quality folks in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program."
Master Chief Machinist Mate (nuclear) (SW/AW) Peter White, leading chief petty officer of GW's Reactor Department, echoed Silkman's sentiments.
"We want to make the statement that the nuclear-qualified Sailors work very hard at the job they do, and we want to retain the very best and brightest in our field," said White.
"I've been in the Navy for seven years now, and I never knew if I wanted to stay in the Navy," said Machinist Mate (nuclear) 1st Class (SW) Brandon Naddell. "However, seeing my shipmates here reenlisting with me and knowing that the other Sailors we serve with appreciate the hard work that we do makes me feel better about continuing my service to my country."
In addition to the SRBs, 12 of the 15 reenlistees were advanced in rate under the Selective Training and Reenlistment (STAR) program.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.