Rare achievement for Australian exchange sailor

Published on US Navy (author), US Navy CTR3 Raul Sanchez (photographer)

Commanding Officer Guided Missile Destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91), Commander Frank E Okata (left), presents Chief Petty Officer Combat Systems Manager Chris Boardman his  Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification in the South China Sea. (US Navy photo by CTR3 Raul Sanchez/Released) (photo: CTR3 Raul Sanchez)
Commanding Officer Guided Missile Destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91), Commander Frank E Okata (left), presents Chief Petty Officer Combat Systems Manager Chris Boardman his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification in the South China Sea. (US Navy photo by CTR3 Raul Sanchez/Released)

Commander Frank E Okata, Commanding Officer USS Pinckney (DDG 91), recently had the rare opportunity of awarding a foreign national his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification.

On 8 March 2014 while underway in the South China Sea, Royal Australian Navy Chief Petty Officer Combat Systems Manager Chris Boardman (Senior Chief Operations Specialist equivalent) was presented his ESWS in front of the USS Pinckney crew.

Command Master Chief Ralph Stanley Crowder III, delivers a speech during Chief Petty Officer Combat Systems Manager Chris Boardman’s Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification onboard Guided Missile Destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91). (US Navy photo by CTR3 Raul Sanchez/Released)

Command Master Chief Ralph Stanley Crowder III, delivers a speech during Chief Petty Officer Combat Systems Manager Chris Boardman’s Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification onboard Guided Missile Destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91). (US Navy photo by CTR3 Raul Sanchez/Released)

In accepting his award CPOCSM Boardman remarked, “I have been aware of the ESWS qualification for many years prior to joining USS Pinckney. The level of knowledge required across all departments and areas of the ship is just that little bit deeper than I have needed to know through my 23 years of service in the RAN. While service in Australia demands similar knowledge levels, ESWS has taught me how things onboard work in finer detail; from gas turbines and main reduction gearboxes to Supply department ordering processes. Wearing this pin gives you an element of credibility that you have taken the time to learn that much more about your ship.”

Command Master Chief Ralph Stanley Crowder III, commented, “This designation is a mark of achievement and identifies our enlisted sailors who have demonstrated significant proficiency and competency in the performance of their duties and responsibilities on board USS Pinckney. CPOCSM Chris Boardman has met all qualifications and his efforts in attaining the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist signifies acquisition of specific professional skills, knowledge, and military experience that resulted in unique qualification for service in surface warfare activities of the United States Navy. Job well done!”

Commander Okata also commented stating, “The attainment of the ESWS designation is a direct reflection of a Sailor’s dedication to their profession because he or she has taken the time to show interest in their ship by both learning all of its systems and standing watches not just within their own department. The ESWS pin denotes that a Sailor is a professional and a team player. By earning his ESWS pin, CPOCSM Chris Boardman has been fully accepted as a shipmate.”

CPOCSM Boardman requested ET2 Megan Stilley pin his ESWS during the ceremony due to her exceptional performance since arriving onboard USS Pinckney.

ET2 Megan Stilley pins the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist badge on Chief Petty Officer Combat Systems Manager Chris Boardman onboard Guided Missile Destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) in the South China Sea.(US Navy photo by CTR3 Raul Sanchez/Released)

ET2 Megan Stilley pins the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist badge on Chief Petty Officer Combat Systems Manager Chris Boardman onboard Guided Missile Destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) in the South China Sea.(US Navy photo by CTR3 Raul Sanchez/Released)

CPOCSM Boardman joined USS Pinckney (home ported in San Diego) in September 2012 on exchange from the Royal Australian Navy to gain a deep level of practical knowledge and experience in the operation of the Aegis Weapon System, which will be built into the Hobart Class DDGs which are due to first enter service for the Royal Australian Navy in mid-2016.