YOKOSUKA, Japan (March 07, 2012) Capt. John Jones, the Navy’s leading community manager for the Chief Warrant Officer/Limited Duty Officer program at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, reviews a Sailor’s commissioning package during a visit aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Brian H. Abel)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Sailors aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) concluded a three-day long career seminar March 8 hosted by several officials from the Navy’s chief warrant officer (CWO) and limited duty officer (LDO) community.

The conference was held by Capt. John Jones from Glasglow, Scotland, the Navy’s leading community manager for the CWO/LDO program at the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) in Millington, Tenn., and an LDO for more than 24 years.

“Anyone that looks at these programs needs to know that it benefits Sailors in more than one way,” said Jones. “The CWO/LDO programs give enlisted Sailors who have a strong sense of motivation and willingness to work hard the opportunity to take charge and pass down to Sailors that will be under their wing that same sense of pride that comes with being in the Navy, and the hard work and initiative it takes to succeed as a U.S. Navy Sailor.”

Prior-enlisted Sailors who have been commissioned know exactly what kind of leadership is needed to reach the needs of personnel they will be in charge of, as different Sailors require different leadership types, said Jones.

“One of the most important things about this LDO visit is that it is not only for George Washington’s crew, but for the entire waterfront as well,” said Capt. David A. Lausman, Commanding Officer of the George Washington. “It’s another example of the concerted effort BUPERS has dedicated to ensure that leadership comes to the tip of the spear and talk to Sailors on the front.”

This year the Navy will be giving 1st Class petty officers the opportunity to become commissioned as an ensign without having to go through Officer Candidate School.

The average age for the typical CWO selectee is 37, while the typical age for an LDO selectee is 32. Selectees usually posses approximately 14 years of education and 99% of selectees are warfare qualified. Both groups of selectees have usually served aboard five or six duty stations, at least one of which was instructor or recruiter duty.

Chief Warrant Officer Mitchell Allen from Birmingham works as the CWO community manager and has had 12 years’ experience as a chief warrant officer.

The greatest benefit of being a CWO is the fact that it gives Sailors the opportunity to give back to the enlisted community with the greater sense of responsibility that comes with the title, said Allen.

“Sailors who enter those programs are the best of the best,” said Allen. “We want to help disseminate this information so other Sailors out there who might not know about these programs and are genuinely interested in pursuing a career in these fields have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of other enlisted Sailors.”

Lt. Cmdr. Kelly Ennis from Dubuque, Iowa, the CWO/LDO coordinator for Yokosuka, said that in 2011 approximately 45 to 50 Sailors applied for the programs and 23 were selected.

Ennis said that the Mustang association was a perfect example of how Sailors who have gone through the training to become leaders have benefited and given back to other Sailors.

“These commissioned Sailors make a difference and we see it every day, these programs were designed to open the door for sustained superior Sailors with a desire to give their all and a continued need to lead our Navy through the 21st century,” said Ennis.

Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Tiffany Coney from Savannah, Ga., wants to be a future leader and says that once she makes second she will start putting in her limited duty officer package.

“My ultimate goal is to become either an administrative officer or an educational service officer,” said Coney. “Right now I’m focusing on advancing to personnel specialist 2nd class in the next four years in addition to completing a recruiting tour so that I have a fighting chance at becoming an LDO.”

The seminar was held March 6 through March 8, but career services will continue to be offered to Sailors through George Washington’s command career counselors.

“It was a great pleasure to have Capt. Jones and his team onboard to talk with our entire officer community, and more importantly, our future officers,” said Lausman. “We had a lot of our young sailors show that they are fully aware of this program, and this new knowledge will help them ensure their records will compete favorably at the selection board.”

George Washington returned to her forward-operating port of Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, November 22, after navigating more than 50,000 nautical miles across the Western Pacific to operate with more than a dozen different nations during her nine-week patrol.

George Washington is the Navy's only full-time forward-deployed aircraft carrier ensuring security and stability in the Western Pacific Ocean.