DUQM, OMAN – Two surface warfare officers signed a Department Head Retention Bonus contract on Feb. 29 onboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in Duqm, Oman.
Lt. j.g. Hannah Van Note, the navigator aboard USS Normandy (CG 60) and Lt. j.g. Eric Van Note, a reactor department division officer aboard Truman, both signed an agreement to serve as SWO department heads. This commitment requires the Van Notes to serve for two afloat tours or a single longer tour, totaling about three years of shipboard commitment as department heads.
The Van Notes are married, and happen to both be deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations as a part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.
The Van Notes committed their lives to the Navy for a few more years, together. As future department heads, the Van Notes will each lead a group of 30 to 40 Sailors in a specific warfare area, such as engineering, combat systems, or weapons, on a surface combatant and report directly to the commanding officer on matters of equipment, training, and personnel.
“We both really like what we do and support each other wholeheartedly,” said Lt. j.g. Hannah Van Note. “So we decided to both sign and see where the future takes us from there.”
Capt. Chris Stone, commanding officer of Normandy, said “this is a huge win for the Navy, to retain both of these highly talented officers!”
The Van Notes both graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2016. The couple chose to be stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, so they could be co-located while serving on separate naval ships. For their first tours, Lt. j.g. Eric Van Note served as the first lieutenant aboard USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), while Lt. j.g. Hannah Van Note served as the combat information center division officer aboard Normandy. Lt. j.g. Eric Van Note also served as an enlisted nuclear electronics technician prior to being selected to attend the Naval Academy and commission as an officer.
“I’ve heard that a couple who signs together, stays together,” said Lt. j.g. Eric Van Note. He went on to say that he and Hannah decided department head was the right career option for each of them individually, and the right decision for them as a couple, together.
“It’s great to see Hannah and Eric commit to continue their superb service to our Nation, Navy, and the surface warfare community,” said Capt. Stephen Aldridge, Truman’s reactor officer.
In addition to committing to serve as surface warfare officer department heads, the Van Notes also acquired the SWO retention bonus. The goal of the retention bonus is to retain quality SWOs and reward exceptional performance, which are top priorities for the Navy. The eligibility requirements for DHRB are the officer must be serving as an active duty SWO, be administratively screened and approved by the surface department head screening board, and have an endorsement from their respective commanding officer.
Lt. j.g. Hannah Van Note said, “We wanted to sign together because we are in it together. We commissioned together, signing for department head together is just that next step to our careers. Signing it together is a unique opportunity especially while we are on deployment. But that’s what makes it even more special to us.”
The Van Notes live in Norfolk with their dog, Paky. They are looking forward to returning home from deployment, together.
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.