2018-07-13 / Front Page

Navy father, son promoted in ‘family business’

Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander C. Branch
Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia


Senior Chief Petty Officer Darrick Sanders Sr. and his wife Yolanda pin crows on their son Petty Officer 3rd Class Darrick Sanders Jr. during a promotion ceremony held by Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia. Both father and son were promoted at the same ceremony. Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin A. Ganshaw / Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia Senior Chief Petty Officer Darrick Sanders Sr. and his wife Yolanda pin crows on their son Petty Officer 3rd Class Darrick Sanders Jr. during a promotion ceremony held by Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia. Both father and son were promoted at the same ceremony. Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin A. Ganshaw / Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia Cmdr. Josie L. Moore, the executive officer of Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia, remarked during the special advancement ceremony that the Navy is a family business, but in her years of service she has never had the privilege to preside over a day such as this.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time in the history of NIOC GA that we have advanced a father and son on the same day,” she said.

Darrick Sanders Sr. and his son, Darrick Sanders

Jr., advanced to senior chief petty officer and petty officer third class, respectively, on the June 29 while serving together at NIOC GA.

Sanders Sr. was pinned by his wife, Yolanda, his active duty son, and his daughter, Alanna.

Once pinned for senior chief, Sanders Sr. had the opportunity to pin on his son’s first crows, welcoming him to the ranks of the Navy petty officer.

“It was amazing, it was a blessing” he said. “You’d never think you’d get the chance to do something like that in your career.”

“It was a great experience,” said Sanders Jr.. “I hear this kind of thing doesn’t happen often, and I really felt a great sense of pride.”

An ironic circumstance led to the fortuitous family frocking. When Sanders Jr. was selected for advancement, he had not completed the Navy’s petty office leadership course, and was consequently not allowed to frock with the other Sailors advanced during that cycle.

“I was upset,” said Sanders Sr., “I was really upset and disappointed. But, after I calmed down, that same day I found out I made senior chief, and now it worked out that we could frock together.”

“I hope I’ll put anchors on him someday, too,” he added. “He has the anchors my uncle gave me 15 years ago, that he took off his collar and gave me when I got my first NAM (Navy Achievement Medal). He has those same anchors in his hand right now.”

Naval service is a strong tradition in the Sanders family. “My uncle was a 24 year chief, on submarines, and that was the reason I wanted to join the Navy and why I wanted to ride submarines.”

“I got to ride the USS Hampton with him for three months, and that was where I got my first NAM,” said Sanders Sr.

Sanders Jr. was also looking to his father when he joined the Navy. “He influenced me greatly. I saw the respect that he got, and that’s something that I wanted, and I want to continue the tradition.”

Sanders Sr. approves of his son’s decision to serve. “He chose well,” he said. “Being around Navy and around chiefs for his whole life, this was his first choice, to follow in our footsteps and to be a Sailor.”

He added, “It’s crazy being at the same duty station. I wanted him to go to a ship first, but now he’s here, and it’s great.”

“It’s awesome having him here. I get to mentor him, make sure he’s doing things the right way. So many Sailors nowadays get left behind. They end up following the wrong crowd and doing things the wrong way.”

Sanders Jr. is not only the son of a senior chief, but of a Navy couple. His mother, Yolanda Sanders, served four years in the Navy as a yeoman.

“It’s scary, having them both serving and knowing they’re out there, but I’m proud of them, too,” said Yolanda. “I know the Navy from both sides. I understand what they endure, that it’s difficult for them, as well.”

The Sanders’ daughter, a freshman in high school, is also considering continuing the tradition. “I think about joining the Navy, especially since it’s kind of a family business at this point,” she said.

Maybe in a few years her brother will have the honor to pin on her first crows, as well.

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