Clockwise from Top Left: LT(jg) Kendall Natter; LCDR Katie O’mara; LT(jg) Mark Ariizumi; Commander Kim Davis.
Dear Family & Friends,
I enjoy shipboard traditions. Some traditions can be rather extravagant: Equator crossing comes to mind as well as breaking the champagne bottle for a ship’s christening. And some can be rather simple: Such as calling a mop a swab or even the tradition of always making a fresh pot of coffee for the oncoming watch. Of course my favorite shipboard traditions are those I get to make-up myself. What I’m talking about is our new tradition for promoting Naval Officers aboard USNS Mercy.
A promotion is a critical juncture in any military officer’s career. It’s both a recognition for what has been accomplished, as well as an endorsement for future expectations. For a Naval officer, a promotion while aboard a ship will always be memorable.
This all started a few months ago when then Ensign Kendall Natter, one of our nurses, received her promotion to Lieutenant, Junior Grade. Kendall is from a Navy family and is the daughter of a retired Admiral. She asked if it might be possible to hold her promotion on Mercy’s bridge. I was more then happy to grant her request. The morning of the promotion, the entourage arrived and asked me where I thought the best place for the oath to be administered. For me, the logical place was next to the ship’s wheel. Kendall stepped into place for the oath - which was about to be administered by the Director of Nursing, Commander Maryann Mattonen – and raised her right hand. This was when I noticed something was missing… So I shouted, “Kendall, put your left hand on the wheel!” It was just the right touch for a perfect promotion ceremony. The former Ensign Natter walked away Lieutenant (j.g.) Natter in what I’m sure is the first of many promotions to come.
Since that day, three other officers have asked for the same promotion ceremony. One of our Pediatricians, Lieutenant Kathleen O’mara was promoted to Lieutenant Commander; Ophthalmologist, Lieutenant Commander Kim Davis was promoted to Commander; and another nurse, Ensign Mark Ariizumi, was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade. I hope all these promotions will be remembered for each of these individuals as their most memorable. They are certainly well deserved!
More to come…