Twelve Sailors aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) graduated from Bataan University, an Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) improvement course May 9.
The three-week ASVAB academic skills class was designed to help Sailors improve their knowledge in critical educational areas, which will allow them to improve ASVAB scores and maximize rating conversion options in the Perform-to-Serve program (PTS).
“Most undermanned jobs require higher ASVAB scores,” said Senior Chief Navy Counselor Gene Grenier, Bataan’s command career counselor. “Most of the low-score ASVAB rates are overmanned, so advancement in rank is very difficult right now.”
Grenier collaborated with Bataan’s Training Department to make the class a reality and give Bataan Sailors more options and a greater chance at advancement as they progress through their careers.
“In some rates [the Navy] is undermanned but in a lot of rates it is overmanned,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician Airman Ming Lin, a Bataan University student. “If we have a chance to retake the ASVAB, we can find out what rate we can cross to. It also lets the Sailors know that it’s not like ‘I’m not good enough for the Navy’ just because their rate is overmanned. I think it’s a good idea to have this course.”
Grenier said it is important for Sailors to know the reasons why their PTSs are being denied. He said when it comes down to numbers, and the only opportunity they have to continue service in the Navy is to work in a different rating, a better ASVAB score can often greatly increase the options. Bataan University teaches students arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, and a host of other basic skills.
“They are teaching us a lot of skills, like how to improve critical thinking,” said Lin. “In three weeks you can’t learn everything, but if you learn the basic skills, it can be really useful.”
The first class started with 12 Sailors and served as a pilot program, but 75 Sailors have signed up for future ASVAB improvement courses on Bataan with more signing up everyday.
The remaining Sailors are being placed into future classes based on how much and how soon they need help.
“We couldn’t teach them all at once, so we prioritized,” said Grenier. “I have a criteria plan. We first take the ones who are going into PTS first, and then we look for Sailors with the lowest ASVAB scores, usually below 60, then professional apprenticeship career track (PACT) or undesignated Sailors, then finally, special programs.”
Grenier gathered up teachers from Bataan’s own deckplates who were willing to give back to the command and the Navy. The instructors for the course were picked based on their degree specialty from both officer and enlisted communities.
“It is important to note the diversity; we have instructors from O-4 to E-4 teaching,” said Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic(AW/SW) Juan Rivas, training department’s leading chief. “It is a real team effort. I am confident that we have the knowledge to teach the course, and as long as the students put forth the effort into learning, I have no doubt we will be successful.”
Bataan is the command ship of the Bataan Amphibious Ready (ARG) group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
By Erin Lea Boyce (navy)
Source: navy, May 11, 2011;