I025 Writing – Feature

28 Jan

Third Time’s a Charm!

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert R. Sanchez, USS Boxer Public Affairs.

ARABIAN SEA- It’s not a common occurrence for a Sailor to go from eating on the mess decks one day to dining with officers in the wardroom the next. However, aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), for Engineman 2nd Class Evan Singleton that is exactly what happened.  

Although, to others the change might have appeared to happen overnight, Singleton’s journey was far from that.

“It’s quite an extensive process,” said Singleton, from Grand Rapids, Mich., “Initially, after college I applied through a recruiting officer station. Found out a few months later, I got denied. So I went enlisted. I let a year and half go by before I sent off my second package. I got denied again. I kept saying third time is a charm, and here I am.”

At an early age, Singleton decided he wanted to work in federal law enforcement, which he states was one of the things that helped him to keep pushing.

“Before going to college I had a goal of being in federal law enforcement,” explains Singleton. “A family friend was a federal law enforcement agent and he gave me clear cut direction; go to college and get military experience, preferably from the officer level. Although that goal has kind of shifted now, it has been one of my greatest pushes.”

Before enlisting in the Navy, Singleton attended Aquinas College on a baseball scholarship. There he got his bachelor’s degree in Business Communication.

So when he entered the Navy as an engineman, it was not quite what he was expecting.

“Four years of college and I never looked under the hood of my car,” said Singleton. “Not being mechanically inclined I felt like I was behind the curve. However, I loved the experience. I loved learning about mechanical things. Now, I can do quite a few things under the hood.”

His drive for success is something that helped in achieving his acceptance to Officer Candidate School (OSC).

“It is a significant milestone in his career,” said Chief Engineman Kenneth Kelly, from Idaho Falls, Idaho. “It proves that if you have strong determination and goals, the hard work you put in every day towards them will pay off.”

 

Boxer has allowed Singleton to get exposed to what life will be like once he becomes commissioned.

 

“I’m grateful that the command is allowing me the experience of the ship while it’s operating to full capacity,” said Singleton. “I’m being exposed to the atmosphere, to the watch stations, to the instructions, and to the tempo of the officers’ way of life. I would not get the same experience if we were pierside.”

 

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However, Singleton is not yet completely at ease with his new position.

“I feel like I can’t get comfortable just yet. I still don’t have the [Ensign] bars,” he explains. “Until I do, I won’t find another level of comfort. Right now I’m in between. I’m looked at by the officer side as enlisted, and on our side I’m looked at as an officer. However, that is not my main focus right now. My focus is getting exposure to the operations and getting into the mindset of the daily routine at an officer level.”

One person who is helping him with his transition is his leading chief petty officer, Chief Kelly.

“The transition process from enlisted to officer can be tough,” admits Kelly. “He has a great opportunity onboard Boxer to see both sides of the Navy (enlisted and officer). Remembering where he came from and looking toward the future with his current career goals will make him a stronger leader. Overall, I think he is adjusting well, and he is realizing the responsibilities and challenges he will soon face as a commissioned officer.”

 

He also got more insight on guidance that was passed down to him while being enlisted.

 

“I’ve always heard, from good chiefs and division officers, that people needs come first, then your own,” said Singleton. “I’ve now seen it put into play on a daily basis and realize how important it really is.”

 

Singleton offers a word of advice to his shipmates that are thinking of going on the same path.

 

“Read all the instructions thoroughly and don’t let anyone tell you no,” advices Singleton. “I ran into quite a few doors that seemed closed. I used the instructions, confidence, and a smile to push through those doors. Maintain a positive attitude day in and day out and thrive on whatever gives you motivation.”

Singleton is scheduled to stay on Boxer until July and encourages anyone to come talk to him if they are thinking about putting in a package for OSC.

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