NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - (Jan. 23, 2019) (NNS) -- He was 22, and a new father, when he left his hometown of Binghamton, New York, for boot camp. His Navy journey began May 13, 2009. He joined as an E-1 with a desire to serve his country and be part of the law enforcement community. As a junior Sailor, he was all in, and ready to make his mark on the Navy.
Fast forward 10 years, and Master-at-Arms 1st Class (MA1) Fredrick Tanner, the leading petty officer for the security department onboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), has been selected to become a security officer through the limited duty officer (LDO) program.
Tanner applied only once, and didn’t include any letters of recommendation in his package. His reasoning for that is simple.
“I knew my hard work spoke for itself, and I knew that if I made it, that’s what it would be based on, not the kind words of others,” said Tanner.
Achieving such a milestone came with many emotions once he was notified of his selection.
“I was called up to Capt. [Colin] Day’s office, [the former executive officer of George Washington], and at the time I thought one of my Sailors messed up, and I was going to answer for it,” said Tanner. “Capt. Day looked at me and told me to come here. He handed me an email he received which read LDO results. At that point, my feelings changed. I felt it was going to be the discussion of ‘better luck next year,’ but as I flipped through the pages of the email that’s when I saw my name highlighted in orange. I stood there in complete shock. The feeling was unreal. To this day I have the exact email Capt. Day gave me.”
After finding out the news that made Tanner full of emotion, he called his wife Alyson who was on her way to see her mother in Missouri.
“Before she left she told me she had a feeling the results were going to come out that day, and sure enough they did,” said Tanner. “I called her, and to be honest, I sat on the stairs and started to cry. She asked me why I was crying. I told her because this changes everything for our family and the future of our children.”
His department head, Lt. David Coon, knows first-hand what kind of leader Tanner is and how that will benefit him as an officer.
“He is always full of pride, drive, and an energy that is extremely contagious,” said Coon. “His loyalty to subordinates, peers, and supervisors in the execution of duties is a keystone to his character. He is fearless. His future as an officer will try him and push him more than he knows, but his drive to succeed, devotion to his team, and strength to accept and conquer whatever task is at hand will benefit him as an officer...He has demonstrated his ability to lead, but what sets him apart is his background. Having come up from the ranks, he has the privilege of being both a technical expert and leader that’s not afraid to get his hands dirty.”
Although he will soon wear officer’s insignia, Tanner will remember where he came from.
“I will never forget where I started in my naval career, and I am truly blessed to have the mentors in my career that I have had,” said Tanner. “Some of the officers onboard, when they see me, call me “ensign select,” and every time I hear that I just remind myself of the hard work I have put in to get where I am today.”
The emotions of pride and joy can be felt by Tanner’s chain of command knowing that he best exemplifies the attitude, knowledge, and leadership of a naval officer.
“I am extremely proud of him for his selection as a limited duty officer,” said Coon. “It is exciting to train, challenge, and gauge Sailors in their abilities with the ultimate goal of one day having done a good enough job to replace you. I am grateful for all of the mentorship and leadership, assignments, and experiences throughout my military career that have made me the leader I am today. I look to MA1 Tanner to continue to grow and develop the security community and be an asset to his future command. His strong sense of character and ability to adapt and overcome are second to none. I cannot wait to reflect on the impact of his future achievements and the success of those in which he will lead. Our people are truly our greatest investment, and it’s amazing to see that investment pay off.”
As he prepares to close the enlisted chapter of his career, he has some advice for those that one day want to follow in his footsteps.
“Hard work pays off,” said Tanner. “Never let anyone tell you [that] you can’t achieve your dreams because anything is possible if you just try.”
Tanner’s commissioning ceremony is Aug. 30, 2019. His first salute will be with Chief Master-at-Arms Leonel Serrano, chief master-at-arms aboard USS Gettysburg (CG-64).
“I am excited to make an ever bigger impact in our community, and affect even more change,” said Tanner.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.