USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) 5 James Yager made history as the last officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) to be promoted to the rank of CWO5 during a ceremony held Feb. 1 aboard the ship.
CWOs are selected through an annual promotion board and Enterprise will decommission with no other CWO4s aboard eligible for the next selection process.
Yager's career began 27 years ago as an aviation ordnanceman. He originally planned to get out of the Navy after completing his initial enlistment.
"[When] I re-enlisted, [I] set goals to become a chief petty officer and then a chief warrant officer," said Yager, Enterprise's Air Gunner, and one of only two aviation ordnanceman CWO5s in the Navy.
When he was a young airman, he was influenced by CWO4 Charles Carter, now retired.
"Carter was full of knowledge and any time I had questions he was always there to answer them," said Yager. "He was in Vietnam as a machine-gunner and he inspired a lot of people. Aviation ordnance is a fast-tempo rate and he hand-selected me to do several jobs which helped set me on the path to success."
Throughout Yager's career, he has led many Sailors the same way he was led many years ago.
"My job is to train these Sailors the way they need to be trained, because without them I would never be where I am today," said Yager. "I emphasize to my Sailors that doing things by the book and getting it right the first time is important, because when you deal with ordnance you don't get a second chance to get it right."
Yager's leadership has influenced many Sailors, including some now serving aboard Enterprise.
"In 2002, I had just checked into Strike Fighter Squadron 32, and he (Yager) was the 'Gunner,' which is the senior most weapons expert officer, and I was an airman at the time," said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Robert D. Ross,. "He is a calm, cool, and collected type of leader. I have never seen someone take so much and relay it into something his personnel can use and relate to."
Yager said he aspires to motivate and drive each and every Sailor.
"For my Sailors to be successful, they need to be hungry," said Yager. "They need to take the difficult jobs, get all the qualifications they can and just be aggressive."
Although he has served 20 years on sea duty, made 11 deployments, served in eight squadrons aboard six carriers and made numerous tours at Naval Air Station Oceana, he is not finished.
"I still have one goal left and it is to retire as the most senior warrant officer in the Navy," said Yager.
Yager said he recognizes it is important to develop junior Sailors into the leadership roles of tomorrow.
"He is the most influential person I have met and will probably ever meet when it comes to developing their junior Sailors," said Ross.
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