ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) gathered on the aft missile deck to recognize the ship's newest recipients of the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification and watch them get pinned by their mentors, Jan. 9.
What made this ceremony even more special was that it included the pinning of Ship's Serviceman Seaman Pilageou Assaleespegotoh, the ship's 96th crew member to receive the qualification during their seven-month deployment, which holds special significance because it is the ship's hull number.
"I am proud that I was able to do this in such a short period of time," said Assaleespegotoh. "I'm excited to keep learning even more!"
Assaleespegotoh also received a command coin and 96 hours of special liberty.
Bainbridge's commanding officer, Cmdr. David J. Pearson, is pleased with the level of effort his crew has put into getting their ESWS qualifications.
"I am extremely proud of each Sailor who has shown the tenacity and personal fortitude to work towards earning their (ESWS) qualification. It is a major milestone in a surface Sailor's career, and I am honored to be able to present so many Sailors with the insignia they rightfully earned," said Pearson. "The impressive number of junior crew members who have attained this level of professional achievement during this deployment, including 26 E-3 and below and 38 E-4's, is indicative of the high standard that Bainbridge Sailors hold themselves and their shipmates to."
A total of 103 enlisted Sailors and nine officers onboard have completed the requirements for achieving their surface warfare qualifications during the deployment and an additional 17 enlisted Sailors are expected to qualify before the ship returns to homeport.
Recipients of the surface warfare qualification must know their ship inside and out, including radar and weapons systems, the ship's gas turbine motors and repair parts and supply, and how the various elements are employed in support of multiple mission scenarios.
Throughout the deployment, Sailors study and receive hands-on training from fellow Sailors who have previously qualified. The process culminates with a test and board for qualification.
"This level of success would not have been attainable without a dedicated First Class Petty Officer Association and a rock solid Chiefs Mess," said Pearson. "I appreciate their efforts tremendously."
Bainbridge deployed in June 2013 to conduct maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations and will return to its homeport of Norfolk, Va., this month.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.