BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) frocked nearly 300 new petty officers during a ceremony in the ship's hangar bay, June 5.
Sailors participated in the naval tradition of frocking, in which they are authorized to wear the uniform and bear the responsibility of the next highest rank following their selection for promotion.
Capt. Greg Huffman, John C. Stennis' commanding officer, passed on his good wishes to 267 newly frocked petty officers while the crew, family and friends cheered them on.
"I want to say congratulations to all the selectees, it's a very exciting day when you get to advance to the next paygrade," said Huffman.
Promotions are based on a variety of factors including job performance and score on the Navy wide advancement exams. Some Sailors have to wait years to achieve the next rank.
"I was prior undesignated," said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Vanessa Cortes, from St. Paul, Minnesota. "It took me four tries to make it. But it feels really good. I'm very proud."
Others have soared through the ranks, like Nicolas Wimpee, from Cincinnati, Ohio, who entered the Navy as a Seaman Recruit and within a year and a half has made Yeoman Second Class.
"I still can't believe it," said Wimpee. "I can't believe I made it, it feels surreal. It's nice to know that I'm recognized for my accomplishments."
Though these newly advanced Sailors are excited for their promotions, in the spirit of John C. Stennis, they are always looking ahead.
"Being a Yeoman Second Class means to actually show what you're worth and what you're made of, and to open opportunities for you," said Wimpee. "It means to actually own your skill set and continue to progress."
Cortes says that her best advice to continue to improve is to study.
"Study for 15 minutes every day, it will go a long way to advancing," said Cortes.
As the hangar bay buzzed with excitement, the newly frocked petty officers shook hands with colleagues, embraced friends and family and took pictures to commemorate a milestone in their naval career.
John C. Stennis is in port conducting routine training as it continues preparing for its next scheduled deployment.
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