Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mandatory Warfare Qualifications

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West wants all Sailors to be warfare qualified. This is a commendable goal. This is NOT a new idea.

Back in 1995, Admiral Jeremy Boorda wanted the same thing. And he told us so when he visited our ship which was forward deployed to Japan. Khaki leadership convinced him that we ought to start at the First Class Petty Officer level. On board our ship (USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19 - with Commander, SEVENTH Fleet embarked) it was mandatory for ALL PO1s to "earn" their warfare qualification (Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist - ESWS) pin.

The PO1s didn't have much time to get this done and we ended up with half of our PO1s on Extra Military Instruction (EMI) til they qualified. This improved morale considerably and generally uplifted everyones spirits. Already doing the work of 5 men, our PO1s took on the additional 90 minutes of EMI each day with great relish.

To give those Sailors their 90 minutes back and to relieve the stigma of some of our best PO1s being on EMI, "the powers that be" started GIVING away signatures and gundecking qualification boards. In no time at all we met Admiral Boorda's goal of 100% ESWS qualification for our First Class Petty Officers.

Now, every one of our CPO Board eligible E-6s had a warfare pin to show for their initiative and motivation. This made it much easier for the CPO Board to separate the wheat from the chaff among our high-performing First Class Petty Officers.

Somehow, mandatory warfare qualification had some rather nasty unintended consequences.


Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

All liberty is cancelled until
morale improves.

Very Respectfully,

USNchic said...

Wow. I can't even imagine a first class not having a warfare qualification! When I was on the USS Gettysburg (CG-64) from 02-06 you were expected to have your warfare qual before you put on E-5. I can't imagine there was much gun decking because when you went up for your board you had to know your stuff. I suppose it's easier to control on a smaller ship.