SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) earned the coveted Retention Excellence Award, also known as Golden Anchor, for fiscal year 2009 after surpassing the reenlistment benchmark.
The golden anchors are a visual symbol and trophy acknowledging the exceptionally high reenlistment rate aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, and Capt. K.J. Norton, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer, said represent the virtue of the ship.
"For our Sailors to reenlist in such large numbers during a time of war signifies not only their devotion to Ronald Reagan, but also to our nation," said Norton. "It's an all-hands accomplishment, and one I'm sincerely proud of."
The Retention Excellence Award is presented annually to ships, squadrons, shore and staff commands that have won two or more quarterly honor rolls during the fiscal year.
Ronald Reagan has managed to stay ahead of the ever-increasing standards as the Navy continues to streamline its workforce.
"Perform to Serve (PTS) is playing a large role in Sailors' careers Navywide," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class (AW) Cherisse Smith, departmental career counselor.
"Because of PTS, many Sailors are finding out they might have to crossrate to stay in," said Smith. "So we have a series of seminars to show them their options, demonstrating the many rates available. Our people like working here and want to stay Navy."
For many of its Sailors, Ronald Reagan represents the finer points of the Navy.
"I love my job and the people I work with, which is why I reenlisted," said Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class (AW) Richard Craft. "The Navy really is the best thing to ever happen to me. I look at how some of my friends are doing back home, and I know Ronald Reagan has not only kept me out of trouble, but shown me a side of life I might not have known."
Earning the Golden Anchor for the third time is a point of pride for Ronald Reagan Sailors.
"It's a great honor for us because it means, in the eyes of the Navy, we're not only clearing the bar, we're blowing past it," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Corey Enss, a member of Deck Department who helped paint Ronald Reagan's 30-ton anchors.
"I've gotten to see places I could never imagine while aboard Ronald Reagan, meet new people and make many friends, and I've only been here a few years," said Enss. "I absolutely intend on reenlisting when my time comes."
Norton said the positive command climate has everything to do with receiving the award.
"Many of our Sailors chose to reenlist -- even without the benefit of a reenlistment bonus," said Norton. "They understand it's a meaningful career choice, and it's a great feeling to know Ronald Reagan has given them such a positive experience. I'm humbled by their commitment."
For more news from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - Ronald Reagan Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.