Back To Driving Ships: Part II

Lieutenant Commander Toy Andrews, U.S. Navy

Time remains a critical element in an already compressed timeline for ships in port. To introduce YP underway training, I offer the following simplified employment model:

►   Friday AM – The detachment officer-in-charge (Det OIC) sends out a “Call for Riders” message to waterfront. Submissions from ships’ training officers are due by the following Monday morning with name, rank, and bridge log hours accumulated. One department head and three division officers are required per ship. This is when the QM journeyman and OS names are emailed in as well. Maybe a junior engineer or two also can be accommodated.

►   Monday - Det OIC compiles list of primary and deputy leads (CO/XO roles) for the department head leads chosen and a roll sheet of 10-15 officers selected. Message with these names is released at close of business with reporting instructions for Wednesday. The message also includes previous week’s execute-and-debrief report from trainee CO.

►   Tuesday - Det crew readies the craft for the week’s underway.

►   Wednesday - Selected trainees report to craft (time set per homeport) and perform basic linehandling training and craft familiarization (2-3 hours).

►   Thursday - Trainees report with:

            - Training officer/navigator administered Rules of the Road test completed

            - Bridge log hours book

            - Overnight bag (toiletries, clothes, etc.)

            - Meals (dinner and breakfast)

Note: Plan would be to lunch on the trainees’ own ships, then head to the training pier. Trainee CO/XO would receive a “navigation brief” to include transiting out and into base, schedule of events, anchorage brief, and the Advanced Division Officer Course (ADOC) graduates provided watchbill for signature.

►   Notional Wednesday Plan of the Day (POD):

1200 Under way

1200-1600 Buoy/navigation aid identification/familiarization survey of the homeport area

1600 Dinner

1730 Station the anchor detail

1800 Anchor

1830-1930 Weather practical

1930-2100 Celestial practical observation

2200 Taps

►   Notional Friday POD:

Friday - Prepare to enter port

0600 Reveille/breakfast

0630 Station the anchor detail

0645 Weigh anchor

0700-0900 Homeport area survey along track to base/berth

0930-1100 Pier landings

1130 Moor

1200 Secure/release trainees

Note: This notional timeline is offered as a way to attack the problem in digestible bites (i.e., some may ask for every other week or perhaps more/fewer JOs per underway). These underways also would be times the senior mentors could pass on knowledge on how to hone the seaman’s eye.

The ROI for such a program seems great. Why send department heads through the longest training pipeline of the SWO community to not exercise that command decision-making muscle? Why not give and hold responsible the ADOC graduates for the career milestone they have met? Why not give active, seafaring mentorship to our new junior officers and qualifying QM and OS sailors? We have the tools to build the necessary confidence to cultivate solid shipdrivers. Let’s turn to and carry out the plan of the day.

Lieutenant Commander Andrews is a surface warfare officer. His experience includes two deployments on guided-missile destroyers (DDGs) as a first lieutenant and a damage control assistant. He also served a tour in Iraq and as training scheduler at an afloat training group. For department head, he deployed on another DDG as the operations officer, then served as a first lieutenant/coach on a multipurpose amphibious assault ship. He currently is serving in a staff position at Naval Central Command in Bahrain.



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