A golden “E” painted on the bridge of a U.S. Navy ship represents one thing: winning the Battle Efficiency “E” award for five consecutive years.

The crew of the USS Chancellorsville, a forward-deployed cruiser at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, earned the honor of painting a gold “E” on the bridge, a visible sign of this significant milestone.

The sailors and officers of the ship officially received the honor in April for reaching the goal last year.

Captain Jonathan E. Will, commanding officer of the Chancellorsville, said it is unusual to receive a gold “E” and has seen only one other ship with it in his career.

Ships paint a white “E” on their bridge when they have four or fewer Battle “E”s.

Commissioned in 1989, the Chancellorsville now has a clear symbol of the “sustained performance and excellence over the course of the past five years,” Will said.

Sailors and officers also receive a symbol for the achievement — a ribbon on their uniforms. Those who were on the ship last year receive the Navy “E” ribbon.

For every Battle “E” award, another “E” is added to their ribbon until they reach four.

When a servicemember reaches four, the “E”s are replaced with a single “E” surrounded by a wreath.

Such is the case for two sailors who recently re-enlisted: Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph King and Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Cooper, both operations specialists, have been on the Chancellorsville since 1998.

Will said he is proud to have these two men serve on his ship as they set an example to junior sailors to do better and “press on,” the ship’s motto.

For Petty Officer 3rd Class Erik Ballantyne, a damage controlman, winning the Battle “E” means the Chancellorsville is “rated higher than all the other ships of its class in all inspections.”

“The ship has won the Battle ‘E’ award five years running because it stays up on its equipment, operations, maintenance, safety and supply,” Ballantyne said.

Each year, a ship is inspected and given a command excellence award in areas such as maritime warfare, safety and supply.

“A ship doesn’t necessarily have to win all the command excellence awards to win the Battle ‘E’ but it is difficult nonetheless,” Will said.

Reinstating the reason for “winning the Battle ‘E’ for the fifth successive year comes from overall excellence across the board from all sailors,” Will said, adding “that teamwork, experience and job quality” gives the Chancellorsville its golden “E.”

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