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ARLINGTON, Va. — While roughly 350 sailors who wanted to take advantage of a 6-month-old manning program to stay Navy won’t be able to, overall the Perform to Serve program “is working exceptionally well,” a Navy official said.

“Perform to Serve is important to the Navy, because it will provide the fleet skilled sailors with a better skill mix,” said Cmdr. Matt Wisniewski, the Navy’s enlisted force manager.

“Those in overmanned skills and ratings are encouraged to move to undermanned ratings. The ultimate goal is improving combat readiness by providing the right sailor, at the right time, with right the skills, in the right job.”

Here is how the numbers for the first six months break down: Of 15,917 sailors who asked to re-enlist, 11,113 have been approved to continue in the job they already are serving. Another 1,829 have been approved to convert from an overmanned rating to an undermanned one.

Of the remaining 2,975 sailors, about 700 will not be offered re-enlistment options and will be separating from the Navy on their preset separation dates. The remaining 2,200 or so still are being looked at, and are in the early phases of the program, officials said.

One of those 11,113 sailors approved to continue in her job is 24-year-old Petty Officer 3rd Class Latish Walker. Walker is a ships serviceman, a rating considered overmanned and ripe for conversion.

She assumed she’d have to change jobs but was surprised to learn the Navy approved for her to stay in at her current rating.

“When I found out I was approved to stay in as an SH, I was pretty happy,” she said. “The fact that the Navy has said it has a place for me was a compliment, especially at our current manning.”

Walker considers herself lucky.

“I know some people put in PTS packages and the Navy disapproves it telling them they aren’t recommended for re-enlistment.”

Not all of the 700 separating sailors are involuntarily getting their pink slips.

“Our records indicate that nearly half of them did not desire to continue their service anyway,” according to a recent message written by Vice Adm. Gerry Hoewing, chief of Naval Personnel.

Sailors looking to re-enlist and are in one of the overcrowded jobs are given six tries during the first six months of their final 12 months before their scheduled separation dates to find a position that will allow them to stay in the service, Wisniewski said. After the six attempts are exhausted and they have failed to find a different rating, they will be forced to separate.

The Navy started Perform to Serve in March to relieve overcrowding in some rates, such as gunner’s mate, now staffed at 117 percent of its authorized strength. The program gives sailors a chance stay in by moving to several undermanned jobs, such as Navy SEAL teams, divers or master-at-arms, to name a few.

“We identify a sailor as being one in one of those overmanned ratings and start counseling 12 months” before their separation date, Wisniewski said. “It’s still early in the process, but initial feedback is very positive. [Sailors] know that advancement opportunities are better in the undermanned fields and the smarter sailors out there want to advance as fast as possible.”

More information is listed in the Navy Administration Message 93/03 and is found on the Internet at: www.persnet.navy.mil/navadmin/nav03/nav03093.txt andwww.bupers.navy.mil/navadmin/nav03/nav03050.txt

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