USS LEYTE GULF, At sea (NNS) -- Forty Sailors stationed aboard guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) were advanced in rate during a June 4 frocking ceremony.
Frocking occurs when someone is selected for advancement and permitted to wear the new rank prior to the official date of their promotion and paygrade change.
During the ceremony, Capt. Eugene H. Black III, commanding officer of Leyte Gulf, congratulated all of the Sailors and gave advice to the Navy's newest leaders.
"Today is the culmination of your hard work and dedication," said Black. "Each of you will need to embrace your new roles and added responsibilities. You are all leaders. Keep up the hard work and you will continue to be successful."
The ship promoted 37 percent of all eligible candidates for advancement through the rank of E-6.
The flight deck ceremony was the final stage in a process that began in March.
In March, senior Sailors began helping junior Sailors study and prepare for their exams by offering daily training sessions, professional military knowledge (PMK) reviews and leadership guidance.
"We provided them with resources to obtain the approved bibliographies," said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class Jason M. Harrison, Operations department OT division leading petty officer. "We stressed the importance of a good night sleep, being confident in their answers and taking the time to read each question carefully."
Although Sailors prepared differently for the exams, they shared excitement regarding the news of their successful advancement.
"Hearing my name [announced on the ship's annoucement system] was inspiring and very emotional," said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 3rd Class Jordan A. King, a newly frocked petty officer. "I'm looking forward to the added responsibility and leadership challenges that await me as a third class petty officer."
"I was excited and extraordinarily relieved," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew James Jackson, a newly frocked second class petty officer. "Advancing in rank was a tangible reward for all the hard work and dedication to the Navy. I know that this is where I need to be."
As the ship's newest petty officers begin their new roles aboard expectations are exceedingly high, with most pressure to succeed coming from within.
"The biggest challenge is going to be the added pressure to manage time and personnel," said Cryptologic Technician 3rd Class Joseph A. Stadick, who advanced to third class petty officer. "It is so important to stay focused on problem solving and also on developing my leadership skills."
Leyte Gulf is deployed as part of Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in support of maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
For more news from USS Enterprise (CVN 65), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn65/.