By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Frost
BREMERTON, Wash. – Two-hundred forty-one First Class Petty Officers assigned to USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) are set to participate in the Navy-wide E-7 advancement exam, Jan. 21.
Stennis’ educational service office (ESO) will administer the exam while Stennis is at sea for a regularly scheduled deployment.
Chief petty officer is one of the hardest ranks in the Navy to attain, according to Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Robert Cardwell, from Odessa, Texas, and the process can be daunting.
Cardwell remains resilient as he prepares to take the exam for the second time by “always moving towards achieving the goal and performing well. I know if I do that [advancing to] chief will take care of itself. Just like any other pay grade you have to be performing at that level before you’re advanced.”
The exam is only part of the difficult task of advancing to chief, according to Cardwell, but the reward is worth the effort.
“[Advancing to chief] would mean my hard work is paying off, and that I’m doing a good job teaching my junior Sailors,” he said.
According to Chief Navy Counselor Preston Rodgers, from Lebanon, Ill., focus and dedication were the keys that lead him to advancing during the previous cycle.
“After my second attempt I changed my entire mindset,” said Rogers. “Every day I was working towards achieving my goal. Because it was so challenging and took until my third attempt, it was more meaningful.”
There are 200 questions on the exam; 100 based on general Navy topics and 100 based on the participant’s rate. To determine whether a Sailor is advanced, their examination score, performance evaluation and other factors are compared to other participants in their rate Navy-wide. The top scoring 60 percent of the exam takers have their record sent to the selection board, the final deciding factor to determine whether they advance. Master chiefs from every rate decide which candidates they deem fit to become chief petty officer selects.
The Navy-wide E-7 exam is administered once a year. Results from the exam are typically available in March. Those selected to advance will be pinned Sept. 16.
Stennis is operating in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations for a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment providing a combat-ready force to protect and defend collective maritime interests.
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