note about Navy advancements in rank.
consideration in recognizing the ranks of our fallen shipmates should be
given to Chief Petty Officer Richard Costelow. Some of the fallen crewmembers
rightfully received a promotion to the next rank because they were eligible to take the advancement exam when they died. Eligibility is achieved after a sailor has served the required minimum time in their current paygrade. One must serve as an E-4 at least one year to be eligible to take the advancement exam for E-5. E-5s must wait 3 years to take the advancement exam for E-6, and E-6s must wait three years to take their E-7 (Chief Petty Officer) exam. Other requirements -- personal qualifications of ship-related functions such as damage control, firefighting, and others -- must also be fulfilled before taking the advancement exam. Promotion to E-7, Chief Petty Officer, is a whole different ball game and the requirements and qualifications to be met are much higher.
Once a sailor has taken the exam and been notified that they achieved sufficient points to be promoted, they can be "frocked" to the next rank. "Frocking" allows the sailor to wear their new rank/uniform and assigns the duties and responsibilities of that new rank, but the actual advancement and pay does not begin until later, depending on the "increment" of their selection. First increment sailors are advanced immediately. Second and third increments are advanced 2 and 3 months, respectively, after frocking. The fourth category, Selectee, advance 6 months after frocking. Chief Petty Officer selectees, however, must wait an entire year after frocking to be advanced to Chief (E-7).
If a sailor is frocked to the next rank but leaves the navy before the actual advancement, his departing rank remains the same. An E-5 Selectee who leaves the navy before the six months will remain an E-4 upon separation from the Navy.
HT2 Clodfelter, EW1 Rux, SN Palmer, FN Roy, SMSN Gunn, EW2 Owens, and SN Wibberly, were posthumously promoted to their next rank, but had not been frocked. Richard Costelow was. Although recognized in most media and newspaper reports as "Electronics Technician First Class", Costelow was not just eligible for Chief Petty Officer and advanced posthumously as were his fallen shipmates, but had met all of the requirements of time-in-service, qualifications, and the advancement exam to be frocked to Chief Petty Officer. He also participated in the Chief Petty Officer Initiation, which many (if not all) Chiefs will tell you is a major accomplishment in itself.
You might be thinking, "Ok, why is this so significant?" It is significant, shipmates and friends, because Richard Costelow died in the Chief's Mess where only Chiefs can be, and was the only Chief killed in the attack. 8 others were injured, but Richard Costelow met his fate while wearing the uniform and being in the space of a Chief Petty Officer.
So please remember that it was Chief Costelow who died with his 16 shipmates.
Photo: Chief Costelow receives his CPO Creed from one of his shipmates, September, 2000.
Photo courtesy of Sharla Costelow
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