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HIGH FIVES

Navy Seaman Sean G. Perras, son of Carolyn and Ronald Perras of Port Richey, and his command, USS George H. W. Bush, home ported in Norfolk, Va., recently earned the honor to fly the enlisted surface warfare specialist and enlisted aviation warfare specialist pennants. The pennants signify that all eligible sailors have qualified in both specialist programs. In order to qualify, the sailors must demonstrate advanced knowledge in the warfare capabilities of all of the ship's departments. Sailors are required to train in many jobs throughout the ship, where they obtain more than 400 signatures stating that they understand the workings of that specific job. After these requirements are met, the sailor must then pass a 200-question written exam and pass an oral board chaired by a senior or master chief. Command Master Chief John W. Hick said that the Bush is qualifying sailors at a rate of more than 100 individuals per month.

"It's a very difficult challenge for a command of this size," Hick said in a prepared statement. "The spirit and motivation from the crew with these programs is awe-inspiring. Because we understand the warfare insignia is the mark of a true professional, we take the programs very seriously."

The warfare programs were created between 1978 and 1980 to help sailors gain a level of qualification and knowledge beyond the normal level required for advancement.

Perras is a 2008 graduate of Ridgewood High School and joined the Navy in August 2008.

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