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July 16, 2015 / iDriveWarships

New Surface Warfare Officer Career Chart Launched by PERS-41

Surface Warfare (Officer)

“Your careers will be defined by flexibility, transparency, and choice…”

“Whether we are talking about systems and tactics in the digital age or personnel management, we must evolve to meet the needs of the future battle space and the needs of our people. Today we shift from ‘what-ifs’ to ‘what’s next’…”

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus

U.S. Naval Academy Address

May 12, 2015

By Capt. Brad Cooper, Surface Warfare Officer Lead Detailer, PERS-41

Today, the Surface Warfare community is going active and shifting into “what’s next”… we are launching the new “SWO Career Chart.” Click here to check it out! 

Here are 12 things you should know:
1) WE HAVE EYE-WATERING TALENT in SURFACE WARFARE. Today, we are stepping out strongly… LEADING the Navy and, for that matter, the entire U.S. military… in a priority effort to retain that talent.

2) WHAT’S NEW?… an OPTION-BASED, FLEXIBLE, AGILE, CAREER underscored by OPPORTUNITIES emerging from Sailor 2025 initiatives: a restructured bonus proposal that REWARDS PERFORMANCE; and pro-active OUTREACH to RETAIN TALENT. Junior officers and their families have different tracks on the SWO career chart available to them. This effort builds on current policies that have served us well.

— Under our new approach, Commanding Officers (CO’s) and Junior Officers (JO’s) are more empowered to influence the future and leverage new opportunities in graduate education, personal growth and career flexibility.

— Among the new options: going to Naval Postgraduate School after the First Division Officer tour… earning a Master’s degree in a skillset we value… then returning to sea for a Second Division Officer tour… then to Department Head School.

3) THIS IS ABOUT WARFIGHTING FIRST. Enabled through: a focus on our people; recognition of superior performance; development of skillsets early; and accruing experience at sea (we refer to this as: WUK – “Water Under the Keel”). Investing in and retaining our most talented officers is critical to operating, fighting and winning in tomorrow’s complex environments… and we’re backing up words with action. Growing Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) is a priority. This program will continue to expand under Navy Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) leadership.

4) MYTH-BUSTER ON JO RETENTION… BLUF: We are retaining sufficient numbers of SWO JO’s to meet our Department Head billet demand and we’ve done it for four consecutive year groups … and on track for a fifth! On the waterfront, you see the positive effect of this every day. Kudos across the board to everybody who has invested their energy into getting us where we are today… and now… it’s time to raise the talent bar of those leading at sea even higher !!

5)  And so… WE ARE CHANGING A CULTURAL MINDSET. Away from …”retaining the most willing” … and toward … “retaining the most talented.” This is a BIG DEAL!

6) “SAILOR 2025” INITIATIVES ARE CRITICAL ENABLERS TO RETAINING OUR BEST PEOPLE. These new initiatives:

GROW WARRIOR-SCHOLARS. We embrace every opportunity to send our most talented officers to study at America’s most prestigious academic institutions (we’re not just talking about this, we’re doing it — the first officer begins his Masters Degree program at Yale University this Fall).  Guidance is forthcoming for those officers who want to compete and start studies in the Fall of 2016! Starting in 2016, we will send officers to learn and contribute at Fortune 500 companies throughout our country under the new SECNAV Industry Tour Program.

INSTITUTE MORE ADAPTIVE WORKFORCE POLICIES. We will lead the Navy in supporting officers’ desire to take a career intermission for up to 3 years as a means to pursue personal interests, then return to our Navy and serve even stronger than before. We are firmly committed to military spouse co-location as the standard – not the exception. Our commitment to our people is further reinforced by the recent Maternity Leave policy expansion from 6 to 18 weeks.

7)  TALENTED DEPARTMENT HEADS ARE DIFFERENCE-MAKERS… so we are raising the bar on what it takes to serve as a Department Head at sea. For the last 20 years, we had little-to-no selectivity. This year, we increased Department Head selectivity by lowering the selection rate to 80%. In 2016, we expect the screening rate for first look to be 50-60%. By doing so, we will clearly select our BEST junior officers to serve as future Department Heads, Commanding Officers and Major Commanders.

8)  WE ARE CHANGING THE SWO JO BONUS MODEL. SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE IS WHAT COUNTS — and WE WILL REWARD IT. This is not about money … we know that talented officers don’t stay for the money… this is about recognizing and rewarding performance. Once approved, a new JO bonus structure will provide First Look-Department Head screened officers with the opportunity for up to $105,000 in bonuses ($30,000 above the existing bonus, which will continue) to serve two Department Head tours or through their tenth year of commissioned service, whichever is later.  The new bonus proposal will pay officers sooner in exchange for signing up earlier. Officers who successfully screen on ensuing looks will also be eligible for bonuses above today’s $75,000 package rates, but at an incrementally reduced rate.

9)  LAUNCHING A DELIBERATE OUTREACH INITIATIVE … we’ve modeled the talent and performance of our JOs using a simple formula that weighs FITREPs and qualifications. We know who the top 50% of performers are. In the coming weeks, we will be communicating with CO’s and JO’s… starting with Year Group 2012 … and targeting the top 50% of that year group. The goal is simple: retain our TOP TALENT!

10) POSITIONING FOR THE FUTURE. Positive changes to the statutory board process are on the horizon and new “market based” detailing pilots have been approved. Our career chart positions us to embrace these changes to the benefit of our people. Specifically, we are:

— Working to replace traditional zones to ensure the best officers are promoted regardless of zone placement and prior selection board decisions.

— Supporting legislation that would eliminate officer management by year group to ensure performance determines timeline and eligibility for promotion and leadership assignments. The legislation would allow those who are not ready for promotion to continue to serve in the same paygrade longer, or for those ready, to advance through the system faster.

11) STRAIGHT TALK: SUBSTANDARD PERFORMANCE DOESN’T CUT IT.  We’ll put a rocket on the backs of our best performers … and propel those officers to new heights as those officers achieve their absolute maximum potential…. but … we will no longer accept substandard performers in Surface Warfare. The last Department Head board de-screened 39 officers whose performance did not warrant serving at sea as a Department Head. Starting w/Year Group 2012 officers, we will reach out to the bottom 10% of officers by communicating to them via their Commanding Officers.  This communication will serve notice that substandard performance is not acceptable … that it’s time to step up your game… or step out of Surface Warfare. No apologies here. We need TALENT leading our Sailors at sea.

12) We are GOING GLOBAL! In the coming weeks, we will travel to every Fleet Concentration area, Newport and Washington, D.C to brief this plan. The plan will also be briefed at the U.S. Naval Academy and to every NROTC unit in America starting this Fall.  We will also pursue opportunities to virtually connect with SWOs serving throughout the country in locations and assignments not listed above.

“What’s next?…” the time is right now! I am excited for our future and I know you are, as well!

#DoGreatThings! … #MakeUsProud!

July 3, 2015 / iDriveWarships

Fireworks and Facts

100704-N-7498L-530 PEARL HARBOR (July 4, 2010) Fireworks at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) explode over two Aegis-class cruisers, USS Chosin (CG 65) and USS Lake Erie (CG 70).  Thousands watched as service members and their families enjoyed 4th of July celebrations honoring AmericaÕs 234th birthday. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Logico/Released)

With Independence Day right around the corner there will be plenty of red, white and blue, and thanks for our service members, but how much thought will be given to history? With that in mind we decided it would be fun to find some U.S. Navy facts that you can share at BBQs and tail-gate parties.

1. A favorite of U.S. Navy Sailors, “Anchors Aweigh,” was written after Midshipman First Class Alfred Hard Miles requested a new march of Bandmaster, Lt. Charles Zimmerman in 1906. Miles was a member of the Class of 1907 and said that he and his classmates “were eager to have a piece of music that would be inspiring, one with a swing to it so it could be used as a football marching song, and one that would live forever.” It’s said that Zimmerman wrote the music and Miles penned the original lyrics at the Naval Academy Chapel organ in November 1906.

2. There’s a special Navy Marine Mammal Program dedicated to studying, training and deploying dolphins, sea lions and other marine mammals that are uniquely effective at locating sea mines.

3. Today’s Navy includes 34 wooden hull ships. You read that right, wooden hull ships. These wooden hulls are sheathed in fiberglass and belong to Mine Countermeasure Ships that find, classify, and destroy mines in vital waterways.

4. “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!” is the now famous statement attributed to Adm. David Farragut but he was also the Navy’s first vice admiral, a rank created for him by President Abraham Lincoln, and was later made the Navy’s first admiral by Congressional Act.

5. The largest of all amphibious warfare ships are LHD/LHA class ships. They look like a small aircraft carriers.

6. While under attack from a German submarine Oct. 16, 1917 Gunner’s Mate First Class Osmond Ingram of Pratt City, Ala. saw an approaching torpedo and realized it would hit close to the explosives aboard the ship. He rushed to jettison the ammunition, and was blown overboard and killed, when the torpedo struck. Though Ingram was killed while trying to save his shipmates and their vessel, his selfless acts led to him being the first enlisted namesake of a ship. Ingram was also the first enlisted man killed in World War 1.


100704-N-7498L-530 PEARL HARBOR (July 4, 2010) Fireworks at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) explode over two Aegis-class cruisers, USS Chosin (CG 65) and USS Lake Erie (CG 70).  Thousands watched as service members and their families enjoyed 4th of July celebrations honoring AmericaÕs 234th birthday. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Logico/Released)

100704-N-7498L-530
PEARL HARBOR (July 4, 2010) Fireworks at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) explode over two Aegis-class cruisers, USS Chosin (CG 65) and USS Lake Erie (CG 70). Thousands watched as service members and their families enjoyed 4th of July celebrations honoring America’s 234th birthday. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Logico/Released)

June 29, 2015 / iDriveWarships

Operation Red Wings; From Tragedy Comes a Ship of Strength

121121-N-WX059-089  PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 21, 2012) The guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) steams off the coast of Oahu on the way to its new homeport of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the first time. The new destroyer honors Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, a New York native who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat as leader of a four-man reconnaissance team in Afghanistan. Murphy was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan, and the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey/Released)

U.S. Navy destroyers bear the names of Navy and Marine Corps heroes who served during both war and peace since the birth of our great nation. The famous names include Halsey, Decatur, Gridley, Stockdale, Hopper, John Paul Jones, and so many others.

In recent history, few names resonate more with Americans than that of Lt. Michael Murphy a Navy SEAL who died along with 18 other members of special operations forces during an operation deep behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) bears his name.

Ten years ago on June 28, 2005, Murphy and three other highly trained Navy SEALs went on reconnaissance mission Operation Red Wings. After being spotted by locals who are presumed to have told Taliban forces of their presence, the SEALs faced a three-sided attack from more than 50 anti-coalition militia fighters that drove the team deeper into a ravine. Within 45 minutes each SEAL was wounded and communication petty officer, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny P. Dietz, had his hand shot and thumb shattered while trying to send a distress call.

Wanting to get his men out, Murphy disregarded his own safety and moved in to the open to gain a better position to transmit a call. This left him open to enemy fire but once in position he calmly made contact with the Special Operating Forces, Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. An MH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying eight more SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers came to help.

Despite having beaten the heavily-armored, Army attack helicopters to the scene, which typically neutralize hot zones before they would enter, the extraction team chose to try and land on the hazardous terrain instead of wait for them because they knew their wounded brothers needed them. While approaching a rocket-propelled grenade struck the Chinook, killing all 16 men aboard.

Within a two-hour gunfight Murphy, Dietz and Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew G. Axelson were killed and an estimated 35 Taliban fighters were also dead. The remaining team member, gravely wounded Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell, managed to escape and evade the enemy for nearly a day. He traveled seven miles before local villagers aided and shielded him from the Taliban until his extraction by U.S. forces July 2, 2005.

Murphy, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his selfless actions, became the namesake of DDG 112, homeported in Hawaii. Cmdr. Todd Hutchison, the ship’s current commanding officer said, “You only have to spend a few minutes onboard to realize that the crew has a special connection to not only our namesake, but to all those involved in Operation Red Wings.

From the ship’s crest, to the Wall of Heroes with plaques representing those that gave their lives during the operation, to the Medal of Honor on the Mess Decks, Lt. Murphy and Operation Red Wings are never far from the thoughts of every crewmember onboard, new or old.

We strive every day, and will for as long as USS Michael Murphy is in commission, to faithfully represent the ideals and unblemished character of the 19 men who lost their lives on June 28, 2005 in the Hindu Kush mountains – for our freedom. NEVER FORGET.”

Murphy was also recognized in Kinsale, Ireland where the first Irish Veterans Post was established and named for him.

Watch this video for more about Michael Murphy, the man, the ship and the crew.


121121-N-WX059-089  PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 21, 2012) The guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) steams off the coast of Oahu on the way to its new homeport of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the first time. The new destroyer honors Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, a New York native who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat as leader of a four-man reconnaissance team in Afghanistan. Murphy was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan, and the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey/Released)U.S. Navy Photo: 121121-N-WX059-089  PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 21, 2012) The guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) steams off the coast of Oahu on the way to its new homeport of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the first time. The new destroyer honors Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, a New York native who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat as leader of a four-man reconnaissance team in Afghanistan. Murphy was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan, and the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey/Released)

June 19, 2015 / iDriveWarships

Admiral Speaks of Progress and Possibilities at 2015 Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium

Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Vice Admiral Thomas S. Rowden chats with participants of the 28th Annual Joint Women's Leadership Symposium June 11, 2015.

Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden chats with participants of the 28th Annual Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium June 11, 2015.

More than 750 men and women from all military services recently gathered for the 28th Annual Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium in San Diego. The event, put on by the national non-profit organization Sea Service Leadership Association (SSLA), focused on current issues facing women in the military through the theme “Progress and Possibilities: Embrace Our Future Now.” The symposium included discussion forums, questions-and-answer panels, interactive workshops, and multiple military and civilian speakers.

Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden spoke to the group and shared how he’s personally seen progress and possibilities for sea service leaders as the U.S. Navy has moved toward equality over time.

First, he related his experience as the commanding officer aboard USS Milius (DDG 69) during a time when there were only a few women, and even fewer women who were in leadership positions. During that tour he saw the ship’s first female Chief Petty Officer join the ‘Goat Locker.’ He also saw her save the career, and likely the life, of a young, male subordinate. This was important because it demonstrated to the crew that a female can be an impactful leader and mentor, with the ability to change lives, without being like her [male] subordinates. That was 15 years ago, he said. Today it’s commonplace to see women in powerful leadership and mentor positions throughout the Navy. That’s progress.

During the second story, Rowden told how in 1988 a promising young naval flight officer was discharged because the UCMJ rules of 1950, and the 1982 Defense Directive for Sexual Orientation, determined that he could no longer serve simply because he was gay. Despite his demonstrated talent as an aviator he was discharged just for being who he was. Thankfully that young man was able to successfully navigate the unplanned career change. He went on to earn his PhD and continues to have a very successful civilian career.

While many people were prohibited from serving under the previous directive, Rowden reflected that now brave men and woman serve openly, without the fear of being discharged. He added that even though it took time, the Navy did change. That’s progress. He pointed out that as the country’s policies have changed, the military has been on the bow wave of that change and as a maturing organization in the midst of challenging times, we cannot turn our back on any youth with potential and must not relent in efforts to manage talent for the future. That opens the door to possibility.

While Rowden admits the Navy of today is still a male-dominated organization with progress to make, it also offers clear paths of opportunity as well. For instance: all new ships are built to accommodate females, a dozen commanding officers of surface combatants are women, there’s growing success for female enlisted and officers, as well as minorities, as they lean forward and excel as leaders. They’re all paving the way for the future, leaning in, and leading the way. As women work to lay the foundation, Rowden encouraged them to mentor others, even though they may not be like them, and to demonstrate their will, prowess, bravery, and patience as leaders because they can make a difference, or save a life.

For more information about the Sea Service Leadership Association check them out on the web at www.sealeader.org.

May 7, 2015 / iDriveWarships

Wayne E. Meyer Awarded Spokane Trophy

Retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bruce Rasche, from the Spokane, Wash., Council of the Navy League, speaks to the crew of USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) on the forecastle of the ship.

The crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) was awarded the prestigious 2014 Spokane Trophy today during a ceremony on the ship’s flight deck.

The Spokane Trophy is an annual award sponsored by the Spokane, Wash., Council of the Navy League of the United States and is presented to the Pacific Fleet surface ship with the highest level of operational readiness in areas ranging from coordinated air warfare, surface warfare and undersea warfare operations.

A plaque was presented to the Wayne E. Meyer crew by retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer Bruce Rasche on behalf of the Spokane Navy League.

Competing against 10 other ships from the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Wayne E. Meyer came out above the rest and received the award for demonstrating excellence in combat system’s readiness and warfare operations. The crew excelled in all areas of operational readiness during a highly successful deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, setting new standards for others to follow.

The award was established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt to recognize naval warfighting proficiency. The actual trophy, created from 400 ounces of silver, was created by veterans of the Spanish-American War and cost $1,500. Due to level of prestige the trophy has gained from the ships who have won the award, the trophy was appraised in excess of $4 million. The trophy was donated by the Navy League and is kept on permanent display at the Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters building in San Diego.

May 1, 2015 / iDriveWarships

Future USS John Finn to be Christened

Lt. John Finn (Ret.) pays his respects to the Sailors and Marines killed aboard USS Arizona during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor

From the first U.S. Navy destroyer commissioned in 1902, to the famous ships of World War II, to today’s Arleigh Burke class, the navy’s destroyers continue to evolve. Tomorrow we will introduce the newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS John Finn (DDG 113), during a christening ceremony at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.

Here are 10 things to know about the future USS John Finn and her namesake, John William Finn:

1. The future USS John Finn is the 63rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and the first of the DDG 51 Flight IIA restart ships.

2. The destroyer was named in honor of Lt. John William Finn, who as a Chief Petty Officer served at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941 during the Japanese air raid that struck that facility and others on Oahu.

3. While under heavy machine gun fire, chief aviation ordnanceman Finn manned a .50-caliber machinegun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp. Painfully wounded multiple times, he had to be convinced to leave his post. After receiving first aid treatment, he overcame the severe pain of his injuries and returned to the squadron area to supervise the rearming of returning planes.

4. DDG 113 will be capable of engaging in air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare including Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities.

5. DDG 113 will be equipped with the Navy’s Aegis Combat System, the world’s foremost integrated naval weapons system.

6. At age 100, Finn was the oldest surviving recipient of the nation’s highest medal for valor, and the only recipient still alive among those who received the medal for actions during the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

7. In June 1942, Finn was temporarily commissioned as an Ensign, rising in rank to Lieutenant two years later.

8. USS John Finn will be able to conduct a variety of operations from peacetime presence and crisis management, to sea control and power projection.

9. John William Finn passed away on May 27, 2010.

10. As part of the DDG 51 Flight IIA ships, Finn will provide increased capabilities over previous flights of Arleigh Burke destroyers, including advances in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare.

 

*This post originally appeared on the Navy Live blog.

April 23, 2015 / iDriveWarships

SURFPAC Announces 2014 SWO of the Year

LCDR JOHNSON

Congratulations to the 2014 Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) of the Year, LCDR Matthew Johnson, Weapons Officer on USS Dewey (DDG 105)!

This award recognizes the SWO who best personifies the ideals of SWO pride, to include excellence in warfighting, leadership and mission accomplishment through superior professionalism and personal example.

Everyone nominated for this elite award is to be commended for their dedication and demonstrated superior performance. This year’s nominees include:

LCDR David Garrett, USS America (LHA 6)
LCDR Jamie Diaz, LCS Crew 103 (LCS 3)
LCDR Katie Jacobson, USS Preble (DDG 88)
LCDR Marcus Seeger, USS John S. McCain (DDG 56)
LCDR Robert Neuerman, USS Makin Island (LHA 5)
LCDR Ryan Hernandez, USS Chancellorsville (CG 62)
LCDR William Fensterer, USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112)
LT Adrienne Roseti, USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108)
LT Christopher Descovich, USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53)
LT David Smith, USS Germantown (LSD 42)
LT Joseph Bubulka, USS Dextrous (MCM 14)
LT Kathleen Ball, USS Mobile Bay (CG 53)
LT Tammi Ballinger, USS Green Bay (LPD 20)

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