Atlantic Ocean - Sailors assigned to USS Harry S. Truman’s (CVN 75) Educational Services Office advancement team are preparing to administer approximately 1,400 Navy-wide advancement exams (NWAE), September 6-20.
“Exam preparation is continual, even while underway,” said Harry S. Truman’s Educational Service Officer (ESO), Lt. j.g. Roger Engelhardt. “It does not stop at any point.”
To aid in ESO’s continuous process, Harry S. Truman has a five-man advancement team to handle everything exam-related. The team is comprised of various members from the ships administrative department, to include personnel specialists, a Navy career counselor, and the ESO.
“It’s amazing getting to help people out,” said Personnel Specialist Seaman Mark Padilla, the most junior member of the ESO team. “The most rewarding part is at the end of the cycle. Seeing all the people make rank and come to the office and say ‘thank you very much for having all my stuff ready for me,’ and they shake your hand.”
The ESO team’s responsibilities range from verifying Sailors’ worksheets, ordering and administering exams, sending exams off ship for grading, and eventually, providing frocking documentation.
“I put in several extra hours,” said Padilla. “I’ve put in at least eight extra hours a day outside of my normal working schedule. It’s been really stressful.”
Every year, the Navy outlines how each exam cycle will take place, with specific guidelines on how the tests will be administered. Harry S. Truman’s team makes every effort to ensure the exam process goes according to plan.
“First the Navy puts out a NAVADMIN that outlines the requirements of advancement for a given exam cycle such as necessary qualifications and time in rate,” said Engelhardt. “We screen all Sailors for eligibility by validating each Sailor’s service record.”
The advancement team recommends Sailors who are eligible for advancement check ahead of time that all the necessary paperwork pertaining to the test is accurate.
“What Sailors can do to help us out is to make sure all information that they provide us with, such as award points and time-in-rate, is correct and up-to-date to make the process as smooth as possible,” said Chief Navy Career Counselor Kshawn Harrigan.
Once the exams are completed, the advancement team is also responsible for disposing of the test material.
“When the exams are completed, one last validation is conducted, and all used and unused test booklets are then destroyed,” added Engelhardt. “The worksheets are then sent off to be scored.”
Harry S. Truman’s Command Master Chief commends the advancement team for the vital and arduous role performed in the service of every Sailor.
“One thing is for certain, I wouldn’t want to do the advancement team’s job,” said Command Master Chief Jonas Carter. “It’s stressful. This exam cycle alone the advancement team has a thousand Sailors counting on them to do their job and they have to get it right every time.”
Harry S. Truman is deployed conducting sustainment operations in the Atlantic.