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Old 07-14-2013, 12:57 PM
 
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How is life on a ship for a junior Surface Warfare Officer (O-1 or O-2)?

I am interested in becoming a naval officer and I was wondering how my life would be, living conditions on a ship and my responsibilities.

I know as an officer, I would have better conditions, more pay and more responsibility but if someone could elaborate on that more it would be great.

Any information you guys have would be extremely helpful, and the more detail the better!

Thanks
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Old 07-14-2013, 04:41 PM
 
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You'll get a state room and may have to share the room with another officer. Officer's mess gets better food because they ensure the ship's best cooks work there. Expect to put in long hours after work to qualify for watches and fire fighting. The watches depends on your ship and division. Engineering officers are required to qualify for EOOW, or engineering officer of the watch. You have to learn the ship's propulsion systems. You'll also have to qualify for OOD (officer of the deck) for the quarterdeck. You may also have to qualify for OOD on the bridge. If you want to advance, you'll need to get surface warfare qualified. You do this in your spare time. If assigned to an aircraft carrier or an amphib with a helicopter flight deck, also work on aviation warfare pin. Treat the people in your division with respect. You may be a higher rank, but they already know the job better than you. Don't throw your rank around like a sledge hammer. They know you're a higher rank. Only use the rank when needed, like if someone is getting out of line. Listen to their experience but realize you make the decision. A good chief or PO1 will be experienced enough to politely let you know if you made a wrong decision and why. Very critical when it comes to weapons, flight deck, or engineering because people could die if things aren't done right. When in doubt, don't be afraid to get advice from more senior officers in your department. Don't know if it's still like this today, but sometimes you have to throw away the rules and regulations to do what needs to be done in times of need. Some things aren't covered by the book and some things in the book take too long. And sometimes the book has to be rewritten.
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Old 07-14-2013, 04:47 PM
 
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Though enlisted will be assigned to clean your state room, that doesn't mean you can trash the place. Junior officers have been forced to clean their state rooms and await the captain's inspection for trashing their room. Your uniforms are sent to the ship's laundry where they are cleaned and pressed. If you find buttons broken in half, let the officer in charge of supply know the pads need to be changed on the presses and use a towel until they are replaced.
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:09 PM
 
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Default Life on a ship for a surface warfare officer

I was a SWO for 20+ years and my father for 21+. The responsibilities you will have far out way those in the aviation or submarine community. Your experience and the knowledge you will gain will help you in all walks of life. Life onboard ship and dealing with the fine men and women will be extremely rewarding.

As far as life on the ship as an officer it has changed over the years. You will still have a good life on the ship, comfortable accommodations, and see the world. I was in the Western Pacific, Australia, New Zealand for the first half of my career. Spent two years in Italy followed by two years in Charleston. The Navy gave me a post graduate education and experiences that are truly priceless.

I don't think you can go wrong if you only stay in for a few years or for more. You will always look back and say that was fun. Many people wish that they could only be assigned to ships vice driving the desk. Being underway, watching a crew come together, being an officer of the deck and guiding the ship into various ports is truly uplifting.

There will be challenges in the next few years with the budget the way it is and congress being so childish but being underway puts that all behind you and you look forward going to work each day.

Good Luck.
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:21 PM
 
3,423 posts, read 4,999,967 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by es9343 View Post
How is life on a ship for a junior Surface Warfare Officer (O-1 or O-2)?

I am interested in becoming a naval officer and I was wondering how my life would be, living conditions on a ship and my responsibilities.

I know as an officer, I would have better conditions, more pay and more responsibility but if someone could elaborate on that more it would be great.

Any information you guys have would be extremely helpful, and the more detail the better!

Thanks
As an officer you will have slightly better living conditions at sea, more pay, and a hell of a lot more responsibility. You can pretty much expect the first 4 years to be a 6 to 7 day work week work with around 100 hours a week norm.. The reward are great but so is the sacrifice..

Here are some links to more info...
SURFACE WARFARE OFFICER

Welcome to PERS-41 Surface Warfare!
Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) | Air Warriors
http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-np...f%20(1106).pdf
Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) | Air Warriors

Your career breakdown is as follows.

First 42 months which is your first enlistment.
First 24 months.which is your first tour..
- The first tour will be 24 months with the most important milestones of the initial sea tour being achievement of the Officer of the Deck (Fleet) and Surface Warfare Officer qualifications. You will be moved around to different divisions within the ship to get a feel for what is going on. Also you will be expected to complete qualifications on several different jobs.

During this time you will put on o-2...

Next 18 months...
- The 2nd 18 months will be spent toward in a different department and you will be expected to qualify as the engineering officer and to start on tactical officer quals.

At the end of your first enlistment you should be about ready to put on o-3..

Your ultimate goal is to be recommended for department head..

Next enlistment years 4 to 7.5.
Shore duty... You will do 1 tour ashore either at grad school, flag officer, or a as a supervising officer...

Division Head sea tour... years 7.5 to 10.5
- Broken down into 2 18 month segments... Complete all quals to make xo

Shore duty... 10.5 to 15 year...
- Division head on shore or post grad school..

XO tour.. 15 to 18 year mark..

XO shour duty... 18 to 21 year...

At around this mark your career can diversify quite a bit...
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellwood View Post
The responsibilities you will have far out way those in the aviation or submarine community.
Could you elaborate?
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:53 AM
 
5,814 posts, read 13,149,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boxus View Post
Could you elaborate?
You deal with situations that involve Aviation ( controlling fighters/helos/Anti-submarine warfare plans), land/launch of helos off the ship. You work with submarines in finding other submarines besides looking for submarines from the ship. You can work with a variety of intelligence groups. You have a variety of responsibilities during a watch cycle that could simultaneously involve all the above while the others only do one at a time. You will be the one making decisions on texting to ask for advice. You learn responsibility for your crew, other ships and others in the battle group. Driving the ship during an replenishment coming alongside an oiler or carrier in the dead of night test and is very exciting.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Ellwood; 07-15-2013 at 06:18 AM..
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:03 AM
 
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Also remember the first 4 years are really OJT for the rest of your Navy career, and the LPO's and Chiefs at this point could and have done your job at different times during their careers. Be respectful to them and treat them equals, as they have a lot more job and life experience than you in their division and in ship board life.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:09 AM
 
14,651 posts, read 13,029,267 times
Reputation: 19753
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellwood View Post
You deal with situations that involve Aviation ( controlling fighters/helos/Anti-submarine warfare plans), land/launch of helos off the ship. You work with submarines in finding other submarines besides looking for submarines from the ship. You can work with a variety of intelligence groups. You have a variety of responsibilities during a watch cycle that could simultaneously involve all the above while the others only do one at a time. You will be the one making decisions on texting to ask for advice. You learn responsibility for your crew, other ships and others in the battle group. Driving the ship during an replenishment coming alongside an oiler or carrier in the dead of night test and is very exciting.

Hope this helps.
Yes, thank you.

I have only been on submarines and shore duty, so I never had the experience with the SWO field.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,376 posts, read 8,514,670 times
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Your life on board a ship depends on the command structure and their policies. On a large ship, your department head, or your division officer, if you are not detailed as a division officer. On small ships - there are few left - the CO and the Exec can play more powerful roles. You have company to help you - other JO's who are usually helpful at showing new Ensigns the ropes. Other than that, there are too many factors that can come into play. All i can say is, you will go through an adjustment process and your attitude will be important. I was on an LST, a WWII era DD, and DLG, all of which were have since been decommissioned. The goal is get on a combatant ship, the smaller the better, which today means a frigate (FFG).
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