Engineman 3rd class Brittany Randall
She was nervous. So nervous that her palms started sweating so bad she started to sing Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in her head, “palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.” After she reported, she recited the Sailors Creed. “It’s something we say every day, but in a board setting, poof! It’s gone!”
That it was Engineman 3rd Class Brittany Randall, experienced in five minutes during USS Frank Cable (AS 40) Blue Jacket of The Quarter board.
Every quarter of the year, junior Sailors compete to be the Blue Jacket of The Quarter. These junior Sailors are nominated by their departments and divisions to compete at a board consisting of petty officers with a chief petty officer as the board president.
These boards test the Sailors knowledge on Navy instructions, regulations, and opinion based question to get the Sailors on topics affecting the fleet. Then at the end of the year a Blue Jacket of The Years is chosen out of the four quarterly winners. In the end, Randall stood above her other competitors and her peers. Based on points, a winner is announced and is then in the running for Blue Jacket of the Year where they go through the same process again.
Randall did not always want to be in the Military. But like most service members, life has a way of changing people’s career paths.
“I joined the Navy to be a Mechanic,” said Randall, a native of Louisville, Ky. “I worked at Pep Boys and fell in love with working on cars. They wouldn’t let me be a mechanic, so I joined the Navy to be a diesel mechanic, and also to go to school because I want to earn my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.”
Sailors have many different reasons why they take their career in the direction they
do. For some it is for himself or herself or a family member, while for others it can even be a higher power.
“I do have a God. I want to be a good Christian for,” said Randall. “I was told at Pep Boys, and I still follow this to this day, no matter if you get recognized by your manager, or here your chief, just do it for Him. He’s the one watching you 24/7 and that’s what keeps me going and being the Sailor that I am today.”
The feeling of winning after going up against some stiff competition can be a great feeling, especially after putting in so much hard work in dedication into being a good Sailor.
“I didn’t expect to win after seeing my competition,” said Randall. “But the feeling after you win is great; I’m not going to lie. It finally felt like my hard work has been paying off. ”
As a leader, when someone under you is rewarded, it can be as great a feeling as it for the Sailor.
“Having petty officer Randall win was very gratifying,” said Chief Ship’s Serviceman Joann Maldonado, the ship’s fleet indoctrination training leading chief petty officer. “She is a Sailor who puts her heart and soul into the Navy. She takes on greater responsibility above her paygrade and stays extra hours to get Sailors qualified. Her tireless effort defines her as the role model for her peers to emulate.”
Randall’s military background did not just start with her, her father served as a mechanic in the Army long before she even thought of joining.
“We joined for the same reasons almost at the same age,” said Randall. “My dad was 21 when he joined and I was 22. We both joined to get a kick-start in life. My dad did it for himself and my mom. I did it for myself, to get schooling and some hands on experience that I was dying to have.”
Even though she did end up joining the Navy, Randall herself will admit it was not what she was leaning towards at first.
“I didn’t want to join the Navy,” said Randall. “I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and join the Army. He told me, ‘If you want hands on and your job first, the Army is not that.’ He pushed me to go Air Force or Navy. I didn’t know much about the Navy, but I decided to give it a shot.”
Randall will not be the first person or even the last to tell you it can be hard to adjust to Navy life at first, but if you stick it out you see what the Navy has to offer.
“Adjusting to the Navy life was hard at first for me,” said Randall. “Especially getting orders to Guam for your first command and then two weeks after getting there, you are leaving for your first deployment. It was a little bit of a mental challenge. Nevertheless, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I see I did choose the right branch, it’s given me more opportunities than any other branch would; it’s also nice getting to see the world.”
Even though Randall is still low on the totem pole in the beginning of her Navy career, it just goes to show that hard work and dedication can pay off. At times, it can get rough. However, like Eminem and Randall say, “You can do anything you set your mind to, man.”
PORTLAND, Ore. (Dec 13, 2017) – Engineman 3rd class Brittany Randall, from Louisville, Ky., assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40), poses for a photo in front of one of the ship’s damage control lockers, Dec. 13. Frank Cable is currently completing a dry-dock phase maintenance availability. The ship will get underway soon for sea trials, which constitutes the final determination of a ship’s ability to re-join the fleet as an operational unit to conduct maintenance and support submarines and surface vessels deployed to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
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