News: Sailor, dog handler, receives battlefield promotion in Afghanistan
Story by Spc. Nevada Jack Smith
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MASUM GHAR, Afghanistan – Navy working dog handler Fabian Salazar was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Petty Officer 1st. Class by visiting Command Master Chief, Cynthia Dawn Patterson, Naval Forces Afghanistan, at Forward Operating Base Afghanistan, Sept. 25.
Salazar was promoted through the Combat Meritorious Advancement Program, a program designed to promote sailors on the battlefield through a selections board based on merit and valorous service, rather than the traditional testing for advancement. He is the first sailor to be promoted to the rank of Petty Officer 1st. Class this year.
“He epitomizes what the Combat Advancement program is all about,” Patterson said. “He and his dog have gone out to see combat so many times and each time he comes back smiling ready for more. That is what being a sailor is all about.”
The competition for selection is fierce and Salazar had to compete with Navy Seals and Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians for the opportunity to advance.
“It is a big honor, I know the competition is really tough,” Salazar said.
The advancement is well deserved as Salazar has had to face many harsh trials during his tour in Afghanistan.
h“Two of my buddies were killed within the first couple months here and another sailor lost his dog after that,” Salazar said. “So out of the four Navy guys that were here, I’m the only one that is left. Because of that I want to make sure that I stay here and finish the mission for tem.”
Salazar spoke humbly about the promotion and explained that he was just doing his job.
“It’s not the glory that we are seeking, it is making sure that the guys behind us have a safe path in front, so that they can make it home,” He said.