By MCC(SW/AW) Andrew J. McCord
The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) was selected Jan. 25 to receive the FY17 Navy Retention Excellence Award (REA) less than two weeks after pulling into their new home port of Sasebo, Japan.
The REA is awarded to commands that utilize and manage specific programs which are vital to Sailors’ success in the Navy, which ultimately leads to retention, reenlistments, and a low attrition rate. For FY17 Wasp reenlisted 127 Sailors, and maintained a 4.2% attrition rate.
“Earning this award was an all hands effort, but a great deal of credit goes to the hard work and dedication of the Departmental and Divisional Career Counselors,” said Wasp Command Career Counselor Chief Navy Career Counselor Triston Thomas. “Despite our very rigorous schedule over the last year, Wasp Sailors, due in no small part to our great leadership, command, and career programs, chose to stay Navy, extend onboard, and continue to serve. This is what it truly means to earn the Retention Award.”
Thomas also noted that while the various career counselors in the command were intrinsic to receiving the REA, it was also due to the nature of their services and programs.
“We really work to personalize our career counseling to each Sailor on the ship – we strive to make them feel like valued members who we would like to see succeed,” he said. “Along with that, the command’s efforts and commitment to minimizing the various behaviors that would result in separation help dramatically with our very low attrition rate.”
Each command winning the REA was submitted by their respective type commander after having passed the Career Information Program Review (CIPR) with a score of 90 points or higher, having zero failure to submit C-Way applications, meeting all the requirements for reenlistments, and maintaining a 5 percent or less attrition rate for 2017.
“The award is a physical demonstration of the commitment Wasp Sailors have to their command, and to the United States Navy,” said Wasp Command Master Chief Rudy Johnson. “I am very proud of the ship’s accomplishment, which is all due to the outstanding and dedicated Sailors who work on Wasp every day.”
Wasp is currently turning over with the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as the forward-deployed flagship of the amphibious forces in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.