April 23 (UPI) -- For the first time, a forward-deployed U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship was used to administer a standard military aptitude test, the Navy said on Friday.
The USS America, stationed in Sasebo, Japan, with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and the 7th Fleet, was the site of the Armed Forces Classification Test on April 15.
The multi-part test is an element of the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of general- and specific-knowledge examinations by which enlisted personnel demonstrate occupational preferences and specialties.
While the test is routinely administered at colleges, at over 14,000 Military Entrance Testing Stations, at a local Military Entrance Processing Stations aligned with recruiting offices and aboard deployed ships at sea, the USS America was approved as a test site.
"When we heard the Navy College Office was closing its doors in Sasebo and the opportunity for sailors to retake their ASVAB test would no longer be an option, we had to take action," CMDCM Randy Bell, Command Master Chief of the ship, said in a press release.
"The sailors we are entrusted to lead and care for deserve the best opportunities possible and our future depends on them and their ability to grow and progress in their careers," Bell said.
The AFCT administered in April was for personnel who have already taken the ASVAB and seek to improve their scores, which are factors in officer candidacy evaluation and promotions.
"I really appreciate having the opportunity to test myself and see if I can qualify for a job in either engineering or administration," commented Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Latasha Velez, who is assigned to the USS America.
"It's scary to think that this opportunity almost went away," Velez said.