USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) occupied the ship's forward and aft mess decks Sept. 20 as they took part in the final Navy-wide advancement exam administered aboard the "Big E."
As Enterprise continued its support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, 473 eligible junior Sailors gathered in the early morning hours to participate in the E-4 advancement exam, which was facilitated by the ship's Educational Services Office (ESO).
"Preparation for the exam began months in advance," said Chief Personnel Specialist Jasper D. Mitchell, the ship's educational services officer. "It takes between five and six months of preparation to administer the exam."
As Enterprise steams toward the completion of its 25th and final deployment, the significance of the last advancement exam aboard the ship was not discounted by the Sailors taking the test.
"To be one of the last Sailors to test for advancement aboard Enterprise is indeed an honor," said Personnel Specialist Seaman Jarrid L. Boykin, exam participant. "If I advance in rank and become one of the many Sailors frocked in the last of Enterprise's long line of frocking ceremonies, I will feel grateful...grateful for the fact that the Navy has allowed me the opportunity to advance in the ranks and become part of naval history and heritage."
As Enterprise brings to a conclusion a name that has been a symbol of the great struggle to retain American liberty, justice and freedom since the first days of the American Revolutionary War, it offers one final chance for its Sailors to begin their successful journey up the ranks.
"The third class exam is the first step toward a goal that everyone hopes to achieve," said Mitchell. "Whether it is senior enlisted or the officer ranks, advancement is a stepping stone that is exciting and that Sailors look forward to."
Enterprise has been a platform for many Sailors to develop their leadership and excel professionally, throughout its 51 years of service.
"The time I spent aboard Enterprise has aided me in preparation for my advancement exam in ways I never would have thought," said Boykin. "The saying is true, 'there is tough and then there is Enterprise tough,' I am glad to say I chose the latter."
Enterprise is scheduled to inactivate in a ceremony Dec. 1, following the completion of the ship's current deployment, bringing to an end 51 years of distinguished service.
For more news from USS Enterprise (CVN 65), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn65/.