Making Mustangs: Helping Enlisted Sailors Become Officers

Story Number: NNS070717-06Release Date: 7/17/2007 4:02:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anthony Koch, PCU George H.W. Bush Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Hampton Roads Navy Mustang Association (HRNMA) sponsored a Limited Duty Officer/Chief Warrant Officer (LDO/CWO) Program Career Day June 28 at Naval Station Norfolk to help prospective candidates in their quest for a commission.

A group of more than 75 Sailors from all over the Hampton Roads area attended the event. Among the group were Pre-commissioning Unit (PCU) George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) Sailors interested in both LDO and CWO programs.

The term "mustang" is slang for any officer who was a prior enlisted Sailor. According to Navy Personnel Command, LDOs and CWOs are former enlisted Sailors who are the experts and leaders in the enlisted specialties from which they came.

"The event exposes enlisted folks who are looking at the programs to find out what it is all about, how to apply for it and what they can expect as far as the selection process goes," said Cmdr. Edward Rankin, Combat Systems officer aboard PCU Bush and HRNMA's interim president.

Rankin has been an LDO for 17 years. Together with other LDOs and CWOs, he briefed Sailors and reviewed their packages to give those attending a better understanding on how to become an LDO or CWO.

"The level of experience there was incredible," said Lt. j.g. Hiram Andreu, a PCU Bush LDO. "A lot of senior Mustangs shared their lessons learned and I think applicants were able to take home a lot after this brief."

"I attended the same briefing last year and this year's speakers provided more detail and insight into the LDO/CWO selection board process," said PCU Bush Sailor, Chief Personnel Specialist Dyrell Magaling. "It is very helpful to have senior Mustangs who were board members themselves share their thoughts and experiences."

One of this year's speakers was Lt. Cmdr. Phil Bachand, administrative officer aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). He was part of the selection board that picked LDOs and CWOs last year. Based on his experience, Bachand said that volunteering to serve in the global war on terrorism (GWOT) helped many candidates last year.

"[The amount of packages received from] individual augmentees (Sailors who served in the GWOT) were huge," said Bachand. "The Secretary of the Navy made it clear [in our selection board instructions] that people who have done the hard jobs and were forward-deployed in support of the GWOT will be given credit accordingly."

Warfare qualifications were important as well.

"One hundred percent were warfare qualified," Bachand said of those selected from the FY-08 LDO/CWO board. "I would say a fair number of those selected were dual warfare qualified."

Leadership continued to be an important determining factor. For example, Rankin said, it's not enough on an evaluation to show membership in a Parent Teacher Association (PTA); but a leadership position in the PTA would be formidable.

All of the presenters conveyed the importance of perseverance. It took each of them several tries before they were selected.

"Whenever you put your application in and it goes through the screening process, and it comes back and you're not selected, it's not the end of the world," said Rankin. "If you don't get picked, just keep trying."

The LDO program is open to Sailors from E-6 to E-9 with at least eight, but no more than 16 years of service. The CWO program is open to all chief, senior chief and master chief petty officers with at least 12, but no more than 24 years of service. Application packages are due Oct. 1. The fiscal year 2009 selection board convenes in January 2008.

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