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Whittier sailor promoted by Navy

WHITTIER — A Whittier native was promoted to the rank of petty officer second class aboard the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower on Dec. 9.

Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Rheannon Ayala-Cortez, a 2014 graduate of Whittier High School, was one of 140 Sailors to receive a promotion to the next paygrade.

Sailors were advanced based on a number of factors such as evaluations, exam scores, time in rate, awards and pass not advanced points.

Capt. Kyle Higgins, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower’s commanding officer, congratulated the Sailors.

“This takes a lot of hard work, a lot of determination, moral fortitude, grit and resiliency,” said Higgins. “Thank you for the jobs that you do, thank you for the leadership you provide. You’ve earned it, keep it.”

Ayala-Cortez said she was honored to be selected.

“I am very proud of myself and thankful to have advanced,” she said. “I’ve worked hard to make it this far and it feels good that my hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower is currently underway conducting carrier qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean.

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