NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- A seaman apprentice from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) became the most junior Sailor onboard to earn her surface and air warfare designators Dec. 29 crediting the ship's mentorship program for earning them within a nine-month period.
Operations Specialist Seaman Apprentice (SW/AW) Jasmine S. Lee has set the example for her fellow junior Sailors to follow using the drive and direction gained from mentorship.
"When I checked on board, I knew I had to obtain my qualifications to get what I wanted out of the Navy," said Lee. "I've seen Sailors who've been on the ship and in the Navy for years who don't have a pin."
A senior Sailor offers guidance to a junior Sailor in the mentorship program. Both share knowledge of skill sets and life perspectives and guidance is established for the junior Sailor's career according to Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) (SW/EXW) Tricia Ghunney, Lee's mentor.
"The mentorship program is a crucial tool for leaders to use to guide and get to know their Sailors," said Ghunney. "Junior Sailors are required to seek out and choose their own mentors."
The 20 year-old-native of Jacksonville, Fla. credits her chain-of-command's mentorship program for giving her the tools and additional motivation to strive for success in the Navy.
"I've gained a sense of comfort and trust in my chain of command through the mentorship program," said Lee. "I feel as though anything is possible after I earned my pins with the help of my chain-of-command because it was so much work."
Lee appreciated the importance of completing ship-board qualifications from her leadership.
"As time went on, I learned that I had to obtain my surface and air pins and that it was important," said Lee. "Not only would I look good having my pins, I'd gain much needed respect from my shipmates and my chain of command."
Ghunney made an obvious impact on her Sailors shortly after reporting aboard Theodore Roosevelt according to Lee.
"When Chief Ghunney took leadership of our division, she came in really strong," said Lee. "She started by finding out the status of our qualifications and pushed us 'to get the ball rolling.'"
The Navy encourages an intrusive style of leadership according to Ghunney.
"Some Sailors do [what needs to be done] and some Sailors don't," said Ghunney. "The Navy is not a guaranteed career anymore and we need to help our Sailors reach success."
Lee applied the tools Ghunney offered. Lee noted that Ghunney was there for her at the air warfare board, constantly coaching her, giving Lee a confidence boost.
"Chief Ghunney is a driving force behind me, said Lee. "She doesn't just inform you of what you should do, tell makes you feel as though you need to get your pins and stand out from the crowd. Chief also helped me with studying."
Lee also mentions her father, Senior Chief Electrician's Mate (SS) Deorick C. Lee, as a source of inspiration and mentorship.
"My father has been a huge influence to joining the Navy," said Lee. "My father always tells me his scores in the Navy and how long it took him to obtain his qualifications and pins."
Working toward qualifications and warfare pins helps Sailors to be more well-rounded as Lee learned through her father's mentorship.
"Now the she got her pins, she's part of the crew," said Deorick Lee.
Lee volunteered for a routine seven-month deployment with USS Vella Gulf (CG-72).
"I told Lee that she wouldn't be able to deploy with the Vella Gulf unless she got both her pins," said Ghunney. "Lee passed her air board 6 days before the ship was scheduled to deploy and that shows her determination."
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