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NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — First-class petty officers hoping to rise to chief petty officer will have their work cut out for them this year.

The Navy will advance 21.9 percent of those eligible, a slight drop from last year’s advancement rate of 24.8 percent, the chief of naval personnel announced last week. It is the third year in a row advancement opportunity to chief fell.

However, the quotas are still higher than in the late 1990s, when they were around 10 percent.

This year, about 3,900 first- class petty officers will be selected to the khaki ranks by a board that began narrowing down the list on June 28, according to a Navy news release.

Petty Officer 1st Class John Hughes, a career counselor at Naval Station Rota, said overall advancement quotas might be down, but sailors should understand that some ratings have very high advancement rates.

For example, quartermaster job rates this year will advance 47.7 percent and master-at-arms rates will select 50 percent. Submarine yeoman have the best overall advancement rating at nearly 70 percent.

Sailors in jobs with little advancement opportunity might want to consider switching specialty ratings, Hughes said.

For example, only two out of 120 eligible aerographer’s mates will advance to chief this year, according to Bureau of Naval Personnel figures. Sailors in that rating hoping to advance might consider a different specialty.

Since the competition to reach chief is tough, Hughes recommends that sailors volunteer for ship duty, accept arduous assignments or get their warfare pin. Sailors who volunteer outside the Navy also have an advantage.

“You have to be well-rounded in today’s Navy,” Hughes said.

The board will select this year’s chiefs July 30, said Mike McLellan, a Navy Personnel Command spokesman in Millington, Tenn.

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