Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Enright
BREMERTON, Wash. – While the majority of those who serve aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) do so as a junior Sailor, as a member of the chief’s mess or as a commissioned officer, very few have the opportunity to experience all three.
In his six years aboard Stennis, Lt. j.g. Jarrod Hamby, from Jonesboro, Ark., has worn the hat of a leading petty officer (LPO), leading chief petty officer (LCPO), department leading chief petty officer divisional officer (DIVO) and when necessary head of department. He has served under four Commanding Officers (CO), five Executive Officers (XO) and four Command Master Chiefs. He began his time here wearing crows, but rose to anchors and finally bars. Hamby is a Sailor who has lived all sides of Stennis.
Hamby decided to join the military as a junior in high school. Though he first set his sights on the Army, a Navy recruiter talked him into becoming a Sailor.
“I wanted to travel,” said Hamby. “I wanted to see the world outside of Arkansas.”
Hamby raised his right hand on August 28, 2000 to begin his career as a Yeoman Recruit.
His first duty station was aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). He frequently found himself butting heads with his LPO. Part of his motivation to advance during this time was to prove to his LPO that he was capable of succeeding.
“Early on, I was dead set on getting out of the Navy after my first tour, but over time I really started liking my job,” said Hamby. “I was good at it too, which made me like it even more.”
In September 2004, when it was time once again to choose orders, Hamby found himself in Naval Station Pearl Harbor.
His early aspirations to become an officer began during this time when his administrative officer, Lieutenant Thomas Miller, educated him on the Limited Duty Officer (LDO) program. Though he was not eligible at the time, having only served four years, Hamby had his sights set on the goal of becoming a commissioned officer.
Hamby reported to the Stennis on October 2, 2007 as a Yeoman First Class.
During this time he served as the LPO and later LCPO of the CO/XO administration division.
“I loved training all of the junior yeomen on the ship,” said Hamby. “That tour taught me a lot about leadership and developing young Sailors.”
As a first class, Hamby submitted an LDO package, but was not accepted. Shortly after, in September 2009, he became a chief petty officer.
“I made chief in nine years, and I had to consider how high I wanted to go in the Navy,” said Hamby. “I wanted to get some experience as a chief before putting in a new package, so I made up my mind that I was going to apply the next year.”
Just before the end of his first tour on Stennis in 2010, Hamby applied for the LDO program once again. This time around, he was selected as the number-one overall candidate.
After a brief induction in Newport, Rhode Island, Hamby received his commissioning on November 1, 2011. He returned to Stennis on New Year’s Day 2012, this time as an administrative officer.
“Coming back was very surreal to me,” said Hamby. “It felt as if I had never left this place. There were plenty of familiar faces, especially in the chief’s mess.”
Today, Hamby works as the ship’s secretary and the DIVO for CO/XO administration division.
“I am doing the job that my DIVO had when I first arrived to this command,” said Hamby. “I have the opportunity to repeat the successes I saw back then and improve areas I knew I could do better.”
Hamby credits his success to hard work, enjoying the job he did each day and learning lessons from his mentors.
“I have had many mentors,” said Hamby. “I credit them for a lot of the success that I have had. I believe you can learn something from everyone.”
Hamby’s advice to junior Sailors looking to follow a similar path is to study hard for advancement exams, tackle the tough jobs that nobody else is willing to do and take advantage of the tuition assistance program. He says that anyone thinking of applying for an officer program should explore all of the options available to them thoroughly.
Few Sailors have had an experience aboard Stennis quite like Hamby’s. In May of 2015, his time will once again draw to an end, and he will transfer to Navy Region Hawaii. His varied career aboard Stennis serves as an example for junior Sailors hoping to maximize their Navy experience.