Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wednesday Underway

We pitched around a good deal last night, looking for an upswell - downswell 
ride. It wasn't too bad for me, but I have a sense that some of the guys up in 
Deck berthing may have caught a split second or two of air on some of the 

My alarm went off at 0615. I called the bridge to ask about relative winds, 
temperature and true winds. Relative winds were 240 at 18 knots which seemed a 
little high for Sunrise yoga, but the temperature of 77 degrees convinced me I 
didn't have any good excuse to be lazy. Once I figured out from the comparison 
of true wind to relative wind that we were going downswell, I committed to 
getting out on my mat. BM3 JR joined me for about 30 minutes of peaceful 
stretching as the sun struggled to shine through the clouds. We got sprinkled 
on somewhere about the third sun salutation. There's some irony there...

After breakfast and a French press full of decaf coffee, I trundled up to my 
stateroom to work for a bit while the Engineers conducted BECCEs (Basic 
Engineering Casualty Control Exercises). I got some good thought work done, 
planning meetings and events for the weeks ahead before it was time to go to 
the Integrated Training Team (ITT) brief.

At the ITT brief, EO, OPS and I ran through our plan for a drill that 
incorporated multiple training teams. The Navigation and Seamanship Training 
Team (NSTT) ran a man overboard, shipboard pick-up drill. About one minute 
after Oscar (our simulated man overboard) went over the rail, the Engineering 
Training Team (ETT) simulated a loud metallic noise in the port side (NR2) 
reduction gear, which means the Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOW) had to 
ask the Officer of the Deck (OOD) permission to shut down the NR2 main diesel 
engine (MDE) so there wouldn't be catastrophic damage to the reduction gear. 
The Conning Officer then had to drive to approach the man in the water (still 
Oscar) on one engine. ENS LR had the Conn and did a great job with the 
challenging approach -- but I'm getting ahead of myself...we're still just 
briefing the drill. Once Oscar was recovered, the Medical Training Team 
(MTT -- not sure why it's a Team because MTT is really only our corpsman, HS2 
TW) simulated that the individual who fell overboard (a real person now, not 
just Oscar) had suffered a compound fracture to his leg when he fell.

Whew -- it sounds like a lot. But our Training Teams are pretty good at this 
stuff, and once the briefings were all over, we moved into our respective 
positions, conducted safety walk-throughs and waited for the Training 
Environment pipe.

The drill went super smoothly. Seriously, ENS LR handled the ship like a 
seasoned pro, even with one engine, picked up Oscar, and then three life rings 
that crewmembers had thrown over so "Oscar" could grab one while he waited for 
us to pick him up with the ship. The guys on deck got some handy line handling 
training in, the engineers got some good casualty response training, the 
bridge team got some ship handling and emergency response training, and BDS 
(Battle Dressing Station) personnel got some good first responder training. 
"Secure from drill, stow all gear."

And it was time for the Training Team debriefs, and then the ITT debrief. We 
passed all three drills. And **finally** it was time for lunch!

I had some more quiet time after lunch while there was departmental and 
divisional work going on about the ship. CO and our Command Chief held a 
non-rated personnel town hall meeting to get the opinions and pulse of our 
junior enlisted members. I worked on some JO OERs until my eyes felt like they 
were going to pop out of my head. At that point, I went up to the bridge to 
stare at the horizon for a few minutes, and ended up talking to some of the 
watchstanders up there about various career progression issues.

In the meantime, OPS was working out plans to transfer a handful of migrants 
to another ship for potential repatriation. We met up with the other vessel 
who was doing small boat training, and used their small boat to transfer the 
people and their stuff over to the other ship. All done, well before dinner 
time. We're getting so we can be manned and ready for receiving or 
transferring off migrants in about 10 or 15 minutes. Not bad considering we 
hadn't done any significant migrant ops for more than two years before this 

A little more computer work after the migrants were all transferred, and then 
dinner. Conversation around the dinner table was fun as usual. Gentle joshing 
about each others' foibles. And laughing about having to soften the butter 
pats in our pockets before being able to spread them on the rolls. And great 
delight about the strawberry-banana milkshakes on the messdeck, especially the 
pipe announcing them.

Then it was off to prep for evening reports and getting the plan of the day 
(POD) templated out before the OPS Brief. We had a new style of OPS brief --  
OS3 JS got fancy with his weather slides -- very impressive. And he even put a 
couple cartoon jokes on the last slide, which was a nice touch. Then Evening 
Reports, to make sure we're all still onboard, plan the day tomorrow, wrangle 
a bunch of details, and laugh some more. I left fairly early to get the POD 

And now it's 9 pm, and I think I'm gonna read my book for a while. Just 
another day underway...

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer


Victoria said...

NOWWWWW..... Strawberry banana milkshakes on the deck. Hahahahahahahahaha!

Charlotte said...

I think the actual pipe was, Now, strawberry banana milkshakes are available on the messdeck." But you're right...hahahahaha!!

Charlotte said...

I think the actual pipe was, Now, strawberry banana milkshakes are available on the messdeck." But you're right...hahahahaha!!