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Offline gordonfreeman

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Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« on: Jan 28, 2016, 11:41 »
Quick background: I'm 19 y/o, single, male.  Clean record. No physical or medical issues.
Currently attending local community college.

Grades: Math, 4 semesters of calculus and differential equations, all "C" grades. Statics, physics and chemistry, all "B"s. General education, all "A"s.  Cum GPA 3.1

My plan: Transfer (application in progress) to Cal Maritime.  Major in Marine Engineering Technology and get a USCG 3rd Assistant Engineer license. Graduation would be about June, 2019.

I know that NROTC, OCS, and SSOP are available commissioning pathways.  I doubt that I have the grades for NUPOC.  I may not even qualify for NROTC or anything else for that matter.  Still, I am interested in Naval SWO.   I would be happy to be a engine room officer aboard a conventionally powered ship.  I'm not sure if going Nuke is right for me because I prefer shipboard duty rather than spending a year in nuclear training. Correct me if you think I'm wrong about conventional power duty.

Here's what I would like to know about the officers in the conventionally powered Navy:

1. How are officers selected for engine room duty?
2. Is there formal engine room schooling?
3. How are they mentored on the job?
4. Any secondary duties?
5. What, typically, is the highest level of command duty for a junior officer?
6. Are intermediate staff positions available outside of engine?
7. Can a chief engineering officer become a ship's captain?
    If so, how many years service does it take to get command of a destroyer or frigate?
8. Can an a mid career engine officer be assigned as a base or port facilities manager?
9. Can engine room officers go on to schools like the Naval Warfare College or achieve flag rank?

I'm just beginning to check out the Navy and I would like feedback from experienced officers.  Also, if you were a maritime grad, or know of one, please chime in.
     

Offline MMM

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Re: Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« Reply #1 on: Jan 29, 2016, 05:08 »
Are you asking about Nuke or non-Nuke SWO. There's a different path for each. For you questions:
1-4. No data
5. JO goes up to O-4 (LCDR), so Department Head is usually highest, although maybe CO of a small boy. For nukes, PA on a carrier (right below DH).
6. Yes
7. Probably, but no data on the time frame. (One of my former PAs is CO on a frigate I think, I'm guessing it took about 14 years).
8. Possibly
9. Yes and yes.

Offline Gamecock

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Re: Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« Reply #2 on: Jan 29, 2016, 05:55 »
Quick background: I'm 19 y/o, single, male.  Clean record. No physical or medical issues.
Currently attending local community college.

Grades: Math, 4 semesters of calculus and differential equations, all "C" grades. Statics, physics and chemistry, all "B"s. General education, all "A"s.  Cum GPA 3.1

My plan: Transfer (application in progress) to Cal Maritime.  Major in Marine Engineering Technology and get a USCG 3rd Assistant Engineer license. Graduation would be about June, 2019.

I know that NROTC, OCS, and SSOP are available commissioning pathways.  I doubt that I have the grades for NUPOC.  I may not even qualify for NROTC or anything else for that matter.  Still, I am interested in Naval SWO.   I would be happy to be a engine room officer aboard a conventionally powered ship.  I'm not sure if going Nuke is right for me because I prefer shipboard duty rather than spending a year in nuclear training. Correct me if you think I'm wrong about conventional power duty.

Here's what I would like to know about the officers in the conventionally powered Navy:

1. How are officers selected for engine room duty?
2. Is there formal engine room schooling?
3. How are they mentored on the job?
4. Any secondary duties?
5. What, typically, is the highest level of command duty for a junior officer?
6. Are intermediate staff positions available outside of engine?
7. Can a chief engineering officer become a ship's captain?
    If so, how many years service does it take to get command of a destroyer or frigate?
8. Can an a mid career engine officer be assigned as a base or port facilities manager?
9. Can engine room officers go on to schools like the Naval Warfare College or achieve flag rank?

I'm just beginning to check out the Navy and I would like feedback from experienced officers.  Also, if you were a maritime grad, or know of one, please chime in.
     

You have many fundamental errors in your post.  A surface warfare officer is never just an engineering officer.  As a JO you will likely serve on two different ships.  You will qualify officer of the deck on your first ship, and earn a SWO designation prior to transfer to your second ship.  Your second tour jobs are typically where you branch into a specialty. 

But, at the end of the day, you will always be a ship driver first and foremost.... That is the path to command.

Cheers,

GC
“If the thought police come... we will meet them at the door, respectfully, unflinchingly, willing to die... holding a copy of the sacred Scriptures in one hand and the US Constitution in the other."

Offline spekkio

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Re: Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« Reply #3 on: Jan 29, 2016, 11:29 »
Here's what I would like to know about the officers in the conventionally powered Navy:

1. How are officers selected for engine room duty?
During your 2nd tour you can qualify Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW) and get a letter. This is mostly voluntary on the officer's part, no one is going to 'select' you to qualify EOOW. Past that, you can be detailed as the Chief Engineer (CHENG) as a DH, which is typically a 2nd tour DH job but not always. You don't necessarily need to have an EOOW letter to be detailed as a CHENG. Also, the CHENG doesn't stand 'engineroom duty.' He is in charge of the material condition and readiness of the entire ship as well as the operation and maintenance of its propulsion machinery. His normal watchstation as a DH would be either Officer of the Deck (OOD) or Tactical Action Officer (TAO).

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2. Is there formal engine room schooling?
Not for conventional SWOs.
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3. How are they mentored on the job?
By constantly being yelled at for every mistake until they finally deduce the right answer by all the ways they've been yelled at for the wrong answer. I'm not kidding. Also, by being yelled at for sleeping or anything else that doesn't involve work.

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4. Any secondary duties?
Yes. As a division officer you'll have collateral duties depending on what the ship needs at the time you report.
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5. What, typically, is the highest level of command duty for a junior officer?
OOD underway. The EOOW is subordinate to the OOD, although apparently they don't really 'talk' on a conventional ship.

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6. Are intermediate staff positions available outside of engine?
No.
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7. Can a chief engineering officer become a ship's captain?
Yes. In fact, CHENG is considered a tough job and if you do well you will generally get competitive fitness reports for command.
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If so, how many years service does it take to get command of a destroyer or frigate?
Typically around 16-17 years. FYI, frigates no longer exist, you mean LCS.
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8. Can an a mid career engine officer be assigned as a base or port facilities manager?
No.
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9. Can engine room officers go on to schools like the Naval Warfare College or achieve flag rank?
There are no such thing as 'engine room officers,' you are a SWO and the Navy codes you as an 1110. You promote (or not) just like every other 1110 and every other unrestricted line officer (sub, pilot, nfo, seal).

If you mean engineering duty officer, that is an entirely different track and would require a tour on a ship to get your SWO pin. After that you go into depot maintenance management or system engineering tracks. I'm not an EDO so I'm fuzzy on the details on what that entails, but it does involve a stop at either Naval Postgraduate School or MIT to get a master's in system's engineering. It also requires that your undergrad be in engineering.

Offline gordonfreeman

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Re: Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« Reply #4 on: Feb 01, 2016, 03:23 »
Thanks for the replies.  I believe Spekkio about the yelling.  I read an article regarding the problem of too many Ensigns aboard ship on first division tours.  The article paints a very competitive tour where you either sink quick or swim.  Reminded me of that Ensign in the movie, "The Bedford Incident".  I'm reading up about conventional SWO tracks, but I've only been able put pieces together so far.  By the way, what does this mean: "...screen for department head at their first look"?
« Last Edit: Feb 01, 2016, 03:31 by gordonfreeman »

Offline spekkio

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Re: Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« Reply #5 on: Feb 01, 2016, 11:03 »
Thanks for the replies.  I believe Spekkio about the yelling.  I read an article regarding the problem of too many Ensigns aboard ship on first division tours.  The article paints a very competitive tour where you either sink quick or swim.  Reminded me of that Ensign in the movie, "The Bedford Incident".  I'm reading up about conventional SWO tracks, but I've only been able put pieces together so far.  By the way, what does this mean: "...screen for department head at their first look"?
Erm, "Ensign" and "competitive' really shouldn't be used in the same sentence. So long as you don't get into legal trouble you will legally promote to LTJG after 2 years, then LT 2 years after that. It's not until you are a LT that your Fitness Reports start to become competitive and your CO is able to give you anything other than a "P" for promotable. The Navy controls officer inventory by controlling the amount of LCDR - CAPT in the force, so they 'tune' their selection rates to try to meet inventory. That inventory is set by statute in Congress. That's not really anything you ought to be concerned about, but just some background on how the Navy does its officer manning.

It's moreso that the SWO community expects Ensigns to be useless and doesn't believe that DHs should invest the time to teach them the ropes. They think that Chiefs should teach you to be a division officer, despite the fact Chiefs are not division officers and don't have the same insight into the DH's priorities.

Anyway, officer promotions have two aspects - statutory and administrative. Statutory is your rank/paygrade, outlined above. Your file goes to a board with all other unrestricted line officers (sub, pilot, nfo, seal) and the board selects the best. Supposedly that process is blind to designator but I don't believe that based on selection rates. You get two tries once you are 'in zone,' if you get passed over twice you must separate within 9 months. If you are beyond 18 years of service when this occurs you can submit paperwork to stay in until retirement, functionally meaning that the min retirement rank for a non-prior officer is LCDR/O-4.

The administrative board is screening the next community career milestone. For SWO/sub, after DIVO it's department head (DH). You get two tries ("looks") to screen department head. The second screen is basically to pick up any extras that can account for people who screened on the first look but decided to submit resignation letters.  The only way to really not screen is if you are really terrible at your job or get into legal trouble. Past that is Executive Officer at sea (XO), which is significantly more competitive, then Commanding Officer at sea (CO at sea).

Bottom line: Just remember if you go SWO and you ever find yourself doing something because you are worried about screening DH or O-3, you should smack yourself upside the head. And I would even go so far to say that if at any point in your career your decision tree is affected by whether or not you will screen a rank or admin board, your priorities are screwed up.
« Last Edit: Feb 01, 2016, 11:05 by spekkio »

Offline Gamecock

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Re: Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« Reply #6 on: Feb 01, 2016, 06:15 »

 I would even go so far to say that if at any point in your career your decision tree is affected by whether or not you will screen a rank or admin board, your priorities are screwed up.

That is great advice.

Cheers,

GC
“If the thought police come... we will meet them at the door, respectfully, unflinchingly, willing to die... holding a copy of the sacred Scriptures in one hand and the US Constitution in the other."

Offline gordonfreeman

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Re: Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« Reply #7 on: Apr 13, 2016, 10:14 »
Well, after doing my research, I've decided the Navy is not for me. I'm much better off sailing as a commercial engineering officer.  Or, just taking a shore position as a facilities engineer.  

I would have commissioned with the Navy, but I believe that I have virtually no control over what I do in the Navy.  If I were majoring in History or Business, sure, go Navy and be happy where the chips fall.   If I were majoring in Marine Transportation, the Navy would be a great option that would dovetail with that education.  The Navy is a great source of opportunity for many.

Unfortunately, being an engineering major, the Navy won't meet me half way.  I would definitely commission if there was a career track leading to chief engineer of a ship.  The only chance of getting to that position is just a crap shoot.  I don't mind taking chances, but there has to be decent odds before I lay money down.  

So, the Navy is out for me.  Thanks for the previous member posts.
« Last Edit: Apr 13, 2016, 10:16 by gordonfreeman »

Samabby

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Re: Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« Reply #8 on: Apr 14, 2016, 09:54 »
" the Navy won't meet me half way '

Be careful in thinking that any future employer will be this generous. Good luck, work hard & be prepared to compromise a little more.

Offline MMM

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Re: Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« Reply #9 on: Apr 15, 2016, 05:36 »
As it turns out, the navy has these cool things called "mentors" and "career counselors" that you can talk to. If you did go navy, you could talk to the CHENG on your first ship and figure out a game plan to get there and then pursue it.

Offline spekkio

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Re: Thinking Maritime Academy to SWO (Engine)
« Reply #10 on: Apr 15, 2016, 07:17 »
As it turns out, the navy has these cool things called "mentors" and "career counselors" that you can talk to. If you did go navy, you could talk to the CHENG on your first ship and figure out a game plan to get there and then pursue it.
No, he's correct in his assessment. The British Navy splits out its Engineering and Navigation/Operations officers,  and only the latter can command a ship. The US Navy wants everyone to be a skipper.

He can talk to the Cheng and CO about his career goals all he wants. Block 40 can say Cheng, the wrteup can say Cheng, but at the end of the day he will be a DH wherever a guy in Millington puts him. And even if he gets Cheng,  that will be a short 24 mo blip in a 20 year naval career.

I would encourage him to look into EDO, but I don't think he's going to get the career he seeks within the USN.

 


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