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With the quick swoop of a pen, Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Mitchell, a corpsman with Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, signs a reenlistment contract at the Career Retention Specialist Office aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 10, 2011. The 2nd MLG received the Retention Excellence Award for fiscal year 2010 for their outstanding efforts and commitment toward getting the best sailors to commit to another enlistment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Franklin E. Mercado)

Photo by Pfc. Franklin E. Mercado

2nd MLG wins Retention Excellence Award

21 Mar 2011 | Pfc. Franklin E. Mercado

Retaining the best service members possible is the job of a career retention specialist in the Navy, and for those units who distinguish themselves as the best have the opportunity to compete for the annual Retention Excellence Specialist Award.

Naval personnel with the 2nd Marine Logistics Group were the recipients of 2010’s recognition as a result of their hard work and dedication in reaching out to the command’s top Navy personnel and guiding them towards re-enlisting for another four years.

The 2nd MLG Navy career retention team, which is comprised of 42 personnel, was the only unit in Marine Forces Command, out of approximately nine units, who were in the running to receive the distinction. Out of all the sailors they reenlisted during 2010, 55 percent were zone “A”, 60 percent in zone “B” and 71 percent in zone “C”. The zones refer to the performance grade of sailors; “A” being the highest. Factors that go into the assessment ratings are physical fitness tests, Navy knowledge exams and various annual training events. This allows the Navy to have the largest pool of high-performing candidates they can promote to the staff noncommissioned officer ranks and positions of higher responsibility.

With the Navy wanting to slim down numbers, which included the option for 800 junior officers to leave active duty up to a year early, according to a recent article published in the Navy Times, a career retention specialist’s work is more important now than in previous years of its recent history.

The award also assesses the basics of the retention team’s customer service skills and their commitment in assisting the unit’s sailors. It is based on the quality of their sponsorship program, command indoctrination and their career development boards process.

“Our team has been great the past year,” said Chief Petty Officer Sylvia Suluai, the head of the retention team for Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd MLG. “(The team) works hard and always gets the job done. Winning this award gives you that feeling of success.”

Along with giving sailors the best opportunity to succeed in their individual career paths, retention specialists make things smoother for sailors throughout their enlistments by giving them guidance about college, enlisted-to-officer programs and family-related matters.

 “This award is recognition of a year’s worth of hard work by a very important team of naval personnel - the 2nd MLG Retention Team,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Kelly A. Mcnulty, command master chief for the 2nd MLG. “(The career retention specialists) spend countless hours with sailors counseling them on opportunities available to them. The job is extremely turbulent, changing constantly, but extremely rewarding at the same time.”

Suluai attributes their success to the competent team members that are willing to do what is necessary and go that extra mile to assist their fellow service members.

 “They’ve really helped me out a lot during my first enlistment,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Mitchell, a corpsman with Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd MLG. “They made reenlistment an easy decision for me.”

He didn’t know it was going to be as easy a process as it was, admitting he would have done it sooner if he did, added Mitchell.

“We call it brilliant on the basics, meeting the needs of our sailors and their families so they can focus on the mission and their job without distractions,” said Mcnulty.

The team is already working hard to retain the honors for fiscal year 2011.

“Now it’s time to work toward getting next year’s award,” said Suluai. “We have a new team, but (with) the same motivation and we’re ready to do even better this year.”

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