Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christian B. Martinez

NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND, Calif. – Rain drizzled upon the flight deck as Capt. Mike Wettlaufer, USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) commanding officer, promoted 29 Sailors through the Meritorious Advancement Program (MAP) during an all hands call, July 18.

Inclement weather and rolling thunder did little to dampen the spirits of the newly-advanced third, second and first class petty officers, who assumed their rank and pay immediately after the ceremony.

“The Sailors selected for advancement demonstrated consistently high standards, positive attitudes and determination. Their ability to lead shipmates to success clearly indicated they were already serving at the next level and earned the opportunity for more responsibility,” said Wettlaufer. “We know they will continue to expand leadership and technical skills as they strive for excellence in the next phase of their Navy careers.”

The Command Advancement Program, established in 1978, was renamed to MAP in October 2014. MAP allows command leaders to recognize and reward Sailors for their superior job performance. After much review and deliberation, MAP packages are sent to the commanding officer, who advances the top Sailors already performing work at the next paygrade.

“When the Captain actually called my name, words could not even describe how excited I was,” said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Eric Gain, from Post Falls, Idaho. “After so many years of taking exams and doing everything I can to already fill the shoes of a first class petty officer, to be one of the two second classes selected to advance is just amazing.”

Sailors selected for immediate advancement are no longer required to take the advancement exam, freeing up time that would otherwise be used for studying. Instead, that time will be allocated toward learning the responsibilities associated with their new ranks.

“As a third class petty officer I know there will be more duties and leadership opportunities, but I am up for the task,” said Ship’s Serviceman 3rd Class Richard Schenk, from Clio, Mich. “It will be a chance for me to collect more qualifications and become a better, well-rounded Sailor.”

This marks the first occasion where Stennis has promoted Sailors under MAP, which is covered in Navy administrative message (NAVADMIN) 141/15. Commanding officers will set the program’s performance standards by selecting their best Sailors while aligning with the September exam cycle, allowing MAP to be factored in when determining advancement quotas, minimizing over promotion and ensuring future advancement opportunities exist.

The MAP season, from July 1 to September 30, is the only time when commands can meritoriously advance eligible Sailors.