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Kimberly Mitchell received one heck of a welcome present when she arrived at RAF St. Mawgan a few days ago: news that her husband had been promoted to chief petty officer.

“I am so very proud of my husband,” she said. “He always gives 100 percent of himself.”

First-class petty officers learned late Thursday if their names appeared on the much-anticipated list of selectees, prompting some to whoop and holler when they heard the news.

“I screamed pretty loudly,” said selectee Shawn Reece, 35, a master-at-arms stationed at St. Mawgan, England, promoted after his second try.

The breakdown of promotions among Navy bases in Europe:

n Nineteen selectees in the Naples, Italy, area, which includes tenant commands, the USS Emory S. Land and La Maddalena, Sardinia.

n Eighteen selectees in Rota, Spain.

n Seventeen selectees in Sigonella, Sicily.

n Four selectees at RAF St. Mawgan, England.

n Three at Souda Bay, Crete.

Navywide, the service promoted 4,173 first class petty officers out of 19,714 eligible sailors. The number of promotees is down from 4,744 candidates selected last year.

Sailors in Europe belong to largely diverse communities where competition for promotion can be stiff.

“I like to use the baseball analogy,” said Master Chief Michael Hurley, command master chief for Navy Region Europe. “We’re in the All Stars. We have a lot of great players out there. Some move ahead and others need a little more time.”

Europe-based sailors have a unique opportunity to attend an academy for half of the six-week transitional period between the E-6 and E-7 ranks. Last year, senior enlisted leaders with Naval Forces Europe and Navy Region Europe instituted the first Chief Petty Officer Academy, a formalized training program in which soon-to-be chiefs are pulled from their day-to-day jobs to attend classes.

While some Navy commands worldwide have held variations of an academy, the Europe-based program was the first time it had been done on such a large scale, covering so many bases and sailors, officials said.

“Serving as a chief petty officer in our dynamic 21st-century Navy is challenging. Recognizing that, a strategic priority of Navy Europe is to develop leaders, which, for chiefs, means equipping them to influence their sailors to full potential,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Anthony Evangelista, fleet master chief for U.S. Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet.

This year’s CPO Academy will incorporate feedback from last year’s participants, making it “even more effective at preparing chiefs for what lies ahead,” he said.

Academy classes will be held at RAF St. Mawgan; Naval Station Rota; European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany; Naval Support Activity Naples; aboard the USS Emory S. Land, homeported in La Maddalena; and at Naval Air Station Sigonella.

For years, sailors selected for promotion boned up on topics such as career development, writing evaluation reports, counseling subordinates and how to carry out a chief’s retirement ceremony.

“I’m really looking forward to the academy,” said selectee Christopher Graham, 33, a hospital corpsman stationed in Rota. “It’ll be a great learning experience learning from chiefs, senior chiefs and master chiefs.”

Chiefs always have been able to build camaraderie and get support from fellow chiefs in their community, said selectee Keysha Cole, a master-at-arms serving in Souda Bay. The academy adds something extra.

“It’s basically a way of getting everyone on the same page, sitting in a classroom and learning from the experiences of past chiefs while not being distracted by other things,” said Cole, a 17-year veteran.

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