MILLINGTON, Tennessee — U.S. Navy Chief Electrician’s Mate Jack Merrigan of Phillips was recently promoted to chief petty officer, an accomplishment that only one in five eligible sailors achieves each year.

Merrigan, a 2006 Mt. Abram High School graduate, is serving with Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Crew 115.

“Being selected as a chief petty officer was my original goal when I first enlisted,” said Merrigan. “When I saw my name on the list, it was the happiest day of my life.”

According to Navy Personnel Command, there are only 8.5 percent of sailors currently serving at the chief petty officer rank.

To be selected for the promotion, sailors must be a petty officer 1st class and successfully navigate through two qualifying factors: a job-based exam and a selection review board. A sailor’s record can only proceed to the review board after they score high enough on the exam. Once the exam is passed, their records are reviewed by a panel of senior navy leaders who meet for six weeks to determine if the individuals meet the standards for selection as a chief petty officer. A sailor’s performance is evaluated for at least five years, and each sailor attributes different experiences for their selection.

Merrigan said that his shipmates contributed to his success.

“I believe that my selection was based on the success of my sailors and the mentorship provided from my leaders,” said Merrigan.

During the ceremony, the honored sailor invites friends and family members to pin on the two gold anchors that adorn the newly appointed chief’s uniform, while the sailor’s sponsor places the combination cover on the head.

“I want to thank my family for their unwavering support during my career,” Merrigan said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here today.”

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