I thought you'd like to know a bit about what Phil has accomplished this deployment.
Phil earned 2 new ensignias for his uniform. He already had 2 from his first command. They symbolize a specialty in a certain area. He already earned a Surface Warfare Pin (ESWS) and an Air Warfare pin (EAWS) while he was on his first ship. It was an aircraft carrier.
Now he's at a different kind of command and so eligible for different specialist pins. He earned his Boat Captain pin first. It's something he's always wanted but was afraid he wouldn't have the opportunity to get it, so it's pretty cool. In it's metal form it looks like this:
His is the silver one. He couldn't put that one on, though, until he earned his Expeditionary Warfare pin. For this one you have a "board" as well as a test where you're asked a bunch of questions orally. He thought he'd have a few more weeks to study for the board after he passed the test but they surprised him and a couple others by scheduling him for the next day. He passed! I'm so proud of him! Now he gets to wear this one as well:
The picture at the top and below you can see these new patches in their embroidered version on his desert uniform.
I'm so proud of how Phil has been handling this deployment. He's been keeping his chin up and continuing to push himself even in difficult circumstances. I can't wait for him to come home!