SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) won the Retention Excellence Award for fiscal year 2016, its fifth consecutive year winning the award.
Formerly known as the "Golden Anchor" award, the Retention Excellence Award recognizes commands that exceed reenlistment benchmarks and attrition goals for the fiscal year.
"None of this could have been accomplished without the career development team," said Chief Navy Counselor Marcelo Almonte. "This award is really a representation of all the hard work the career development team has done throughout the whole year."
Almonte explained that the career development team is made up of 42 petty officers from every rate on the ship so that there is a subject matter expert from every community in the Navy. These petty officers act as a point of contact for Sailors and help not only answer questions Sailors may have about their career decisions but also make sure Sailors have access to the resources they need.
"As a Navy counselor, we manage that career development team," said Almonte. "The career development team is the muscle. They're the ones out on the deck plates, talking to Sailors, making sure that the right Sailors are reenlisting and the Sailors that want to separate have the resources they need to do so."
Essex's retention team works non-stop to ensure a positive command climate and helps shape experiences a Sailor may have at their command which will ultimately have a direct impact on future career decisions. Sailors also have personal and professional reasons in their decision to either reenlist or separate.
Information System Technician 2nd Class Jerold Ingram, a Sailor who just reenlisted for another four years, explained that he has spent a considerable amount of time before the Navy working at various jobs and the Navy helped focus himself in a positive direction.
"It was a pretty easy choice because I spent so much time not knowing what I want to do and bouncing around," said Ingram. "This gave me something to dial in on and focus."
Ingram said he is excited about his reenlistment and that he is positive that Essex has prepared him to be able to handle anything anywhere he goes in his naval career.
Command Master Chief Matthew Danforth praised Essex's many successes and explained how Essex plans to continue winning the Golden Anchor in the future.
"The Golden Anchor is a testimony to the Sailors onboard who make this Ship great and the leadership providing the tools and guidance to the crew." said Danforth. "We are and will always be committed to the success of every Sailor onboard. The Sailors are committed to mission readiness and take pride in their ship."
Essex is currently wrapping up a 420-day pier side Planned Maintenance Availability. Shipboard modifications include: an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flight deck and hangar bay modification, Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprises (CANES) service and a Ships Self-Defense Systems (SSDS) upgrade.
Essex is expected to get under way this summer.
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