|PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2006 — Life has been full of surprises for Petty Officer Matthew P. Julian of Greece, Rochester, NY.
As a culinary specialist assigned to the submarine USS San Francisco, Julian didn’t expect the tour to include a rotation in the mountains of Afghanistan as an Individual Augmentee, pulled from his normal job to directly support Operation Enduring Freedom.
But despite being an Individual Augmentee deployed more than eight thousand feet above sea level and half a world away from his boat’s homeport of Bremerton Wash., Julian found that out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind.
Julian was selected for the Command Advancement Program (CAP) by Cdr. Dave Ogburn, the Commanding Officer of USS San Francisco, and on June 15 was promoted to Culinary Specialist Second-Class.
Learning of his advancement, Julian said, “It is such an honor to be the only submariner CAP-ed in Afghanistan and recognized at such a high level. I am ecstatic about the promotion to Petty Officer Second Class and am grateful for the crew of the USS San Francisco.”
“When we sat down and reviewed his performance onboard, we saw that he was the right choice,” said Ogburn. “He is a sailor who takes responsibility and takes charge. When I talked with Cdr. Varney in Afghanistan, that confirmed his performance is continuing out there.”
Cdr. Michael Varney, the commanding officer of the Sharana Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Paktika Province of Afghanistan, performed the ceremony and pinned on Julian’s second-class petty-officer crows.
“I think it is fantastic that the San Francisco recognized the importance of the job Petty Officer Julian is doing for his country, a job completely outside a normal submariner’s lane,” Varney said. “That the San Francisco commanding officer is willing to use a CAP-in-absentia sends a strong message to the rest of the force and the Navy, the importance of the Navy’s support to Operation Enduring Freedom.”
Each Afghan Provincial Reconstruction Team works directly with a province, mentoring and assisting its relationships with towns and villages and with the national government. Currently 6 of the 12 US-led Afghan Provincial Reconstruction Teams are commanded by Navy officers and populated largely by sailors. Nine other Afghan teams are led by the international community.