Commander William Earl Fannin, Class of 1945, Capstone Essay Contest
As a surface warfare division officer, the care of those in your command should top your priority list—under way and ashore.
The ability to serve as an officer in the U.S. Navy is an honor unmatched by any other. You have the ability not only to serve your country, but to influence positively the lives of the people placed within your care. As a division officer you are responsible for those in your division. Beyond their professional development and accession through the ranks, you are obligated to make sure that they have a healthy life in regard to their families, finances, and living situations. You are increasingly required to assure their well-being under way and to do everything within your power to return them safely to their families ashore. This means that you must strive to create as safe an environment as possible and to ensure that all the members of your division are able to do their jobs.
Lead and Learn
As a surface warfare officer, you are a leader of sailors from the second you are commissioned. While it is essential that you are able to stand watch and perform the duties required of you on the ship, the most important part of the division officer’s job is to lead ably and support the sailors within your division. In this sense, the greatest asset you have is the senior enlisted leader of your division. Your chief or senior chief along with your first-class petty officer are important resources who not only know the best ways to handle your division, but who are experienced hands skilled at their jobs. Behind every great commanding officer is a chief who molded and shaped him or her as a young junior officer. The senior enlisted are the backbone of the Navy and the officer corps.