NEWPORT NEWS, Va (NNS) -- A recent milestone sent a resounding "boom" into the ordnance family. Cmdr. Michael Price, ordnance handling officer aboard PCU Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), became the first African-American ordnance officer promoted to commander.
"This is a pretty big deal," said Cmdr. Bill Glenn, force weapons officer for Naval Air Forces Atlantic Fleet. "Cmdr. Price even has an excellent shot at getting promoted to captain. There are only two ordnance captain billets right now."
According to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, there are only nine commanders out of the 163 officers in the ordnance field.
"To me, this shows that hard work and perseverance pays off. It can be done no matter what the color of your skin," said Price, who began his career as an enlisted Sailor in 1977. "Our field was established in 1926, and no African-American has made commander until now. It has a lot to say about where we've come over the years."
While the promotion sets a personal milestone for Price, it is also special for his family.
"There is not a word in the vocabulary that can describe how I feel," said Price in regards to his promotion ceremony, which was held Dec. 2. "My family has been there for all the big events in my career. They were there when I made chief and at my commissioning. I'm glad they could be here for this."
Price attributes hard work, persistence and humility as keys to his success. "Don't give up, don't be too prideful," he said. "Work hard, study and always put your best foot forward."
Price hopes his promotion will send a message to other minorities. "There are a lot more African-American LDO's (limited duty officers) in the weapons field," said Price. "This promotion says to them that they can make it, too. The sky's the limit."
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76.