More respect for US Navy officers and enlisted personnel needed


I asked because I worked with a guy who was former Navy electrician and the MMC wouldn’t give him anything for his time because he “wasn’t standing an engine room watch”.


It’s just so weird! It would be SO EASY for the Navy to do this (can’t speak for USCG personnel). They refuse to even read the standards from the NMC website or even attempt to get USCG accreditation - and the USCG is offering to do this for them! (I only have a little bit of yaking with some of these Navy dudes trying to get this done for their people. But it left an impression!). They even brought the US Army in to weigh in on this and the USN refuses to listen! Why even bring those guys in if you aren’t going to listen? It boggles my mind.


I think they just want to make sure that it is a difficult as possible to cross over … if it is easier to stay Navy than use that training to get qualifications that provide a path to what is in comparison, a life of milk and honey, retention would collapse.


Sounds like less than the full story. Electricians are part of the engine department and the rules just say member of the engine department, not standing a watch in the engine room.

What was he applying for?

I think it only takes 6 months sea time in the engine department and a course, or 12 months without, to get a reefer/electrician endorsement.


The NMC has specific rates that they give any sea time for at all and they supposedly base that on who stands actual watches. They don’t have sea time for Navy electricians.

I think he wanted QMED Oiler (the QMED required to work on OSVs). (This was before the USCG issued ETO qualifications, hopefully they now would give Navy electricians ETO.)


Well said!!


That’s for STCW Able Seafarer-Engine. For QMED, it’s less than that. It’s 6 months “in a rating at least equal to that of wiper or coal passer.” With QMED, the course is to substitute for the Coast Guard QMED exam and doesn’t change the sea service. There is a provision for approved QMED programs that would reduce the service by half (to 3 months) but there are very few (if any) of those. [46 CFR 12.503]

There is a table for military ratings in Volume III of the Marine Safety Manual (see page A2-5) but it’s to apply military time to eligibility for licenses. For unlicensed ratings, the standard in the MSM is what the reg I noted above says: “Any enlisted service which can be equated to wiper or to any of the qualified member of the engine department (QMED) ratings may be accepted toward meeting the service requirements for all the QMED endorsements except deck engine mechanic and engineman…” However, there have been instances when that table was misused to apply to ratings. By the way, that table does credit time as a Coast Guard Electrician’s Mate as being fully equivalent to service as a QMED (when applying for a license), but service as a Navy Electrician’s Mate needs documented watchkeeping. But again., that table is for determining whether military service is acceptable for a license, not a QMED rating.

The MSM table is currently being revised. At the most recent MERPAC meetings, a different format for the table was introduced, and its applicability would be expanded to include correlation of military ratings to unlicensed mariner ratings.

With regard to watchkeeping, see NVIC 18-14 for AS-D, that endorsement does require watchkeeping expeience, but even for that we say “because many vessels no longer have manned engine rooms, engine room maintenance with designated engine room operational experience may be substituted for watch keeping experience.” Similar provisions apply to OICEW.


Really?? Time to renew the rules?:


Sorry for the long response. Short answer in the last paragraph. Long anwser follows:

Why are [fill in the blank] disrespected on an internet forum? Because it’s an internet forum. A large fraction of what you read on most internet forums is anonymous schoolyard bullying. In the case of Gcaptain, bullying by about 0.25% of the maritime public at large.

As for the larger question RE: respect for the military. Here’s the societal deal. Americans pay people the military to do a job. We show the military more respect than most any other line of work. This wasn’t always the case. If I dropped you into the year 1980 you’d really know what disrespect for the military meant. My point: I suggest be happy you get what you get, because service people are treated like gods now, compared to the way it was immediately after Vietnam.

After your 20 years in the service, whether you were getting shot at every day in Afghanistan, or sat in a rear echelon post with no chance of injury, the American public shows you respect by paying your pensions and benefits until the day you die. Which can be, statistically speaking, about 46 years. Or, give modern medical advances, 62 years or more. The taxpayer probably won’t get the same deal. The taxpayer will likely have to slave until their mid-60’s paying those pensions and benefits. The taxpayer will likely live on a pittance in their old age, statistically speaking. But no complaint. That’s the respect the military gets. No slap on the back, no empty words, but cold hard cash for the rest of their lives.
Seems to me a pretty good system. If you don’t choose to stay in the service until retirement that’s up to you. You still get VA benefits, and likely some GI bill training benefits. Out of respect.

I admit a little warning light goes off in the back of my mind when the military starts seeing itself as distinct from the public. As if the public owed them more. The public and the military should be one. When the military begins to be a separate caste, you start to get problems. Hence my ambivalence towards showing the military any more respect that is given them now. It seems to me of late, with politics such a mess, and government in disrepute, that a certain faction of the public turns to the military for answers. In turn, a certain faction of the military seems to bask in the glory. Not good for a republic. Not good at all.

But I’m digressing. That’s not what the OP was talking about. He had a simple direct question, so here’s a simple direct answer: 1) Looking for respect on an internet forum is like looking for a nun in a whorehouse. Unreasonable expectation. 2) Like my boss always says: I pay you to do a job. If you want respect, take the money and buy a dog.


Do you consider it disrespectful to demand a high standard from the Armed Forces? Yes, I have a great respect for all of the Armed Forces. But here in America please remember that the military is and always should be under control of civilian leadership and the people that elect them.

I don’t ask or request, but consider it a reasonable demand by a simple citizen for naval vessels to have competent officers actively in charge of well-functioning bridge teams that safely navigate their vessel. For naval vessels to actually answer you if you try to contact them and follow the same rules at sea that are there to prevent collision. Force protection, operational security, and whatever secrets are there should not prevent a ship at sea from being operated safely. After looking over several comments, it looks to me that despite the amazing men and women in uniform, the standards for who is an OOD and who an OOD is able to call on for support when it comes to the safe navigation of a ship is lacking. One collision is one too many and seven dead sailors are seven too many.

If some object by mentioning the comparisons between merchant marine deck officers and OOD’s are not apples to apples, what is the Navy going to do to fix it?

No disrespect the way you think, but when there is an incident like what happened off of Japan, the Navy should not be surprised when people expect them to fix it. Not just put a bandaid on it, but figure out what part of the ‘system’ failed and truly fix it.

So have my respect but don’t expect a free pass when people die.


The reply to the OP comes down to two things:

  1. There’s a difference between having respect for individuals who serve(ed) and the institution they were in. The military isn’t above criticism, even by outsiders.

  2. Disrespect shown to individuals on here is because of how they conducted themselves on this forum. Being a veteran won’t protect douche-nozzles from getting called out for it.


Well I got out in 1984 and the XO was not the NAV on any ship I had been associated with. Never on Aircraft Carrier though.


Respect must be earned


Schwoebel, in 1999, published a book titled Explosion Aboard the Iowa on his experience directing Sandia’s investigation into the explosion. In the book, Schwoebel concluded that, in his opinion, the Iowa incident and aftermath illustrated that high-consequence incidents should be investigated by an independent group instead of by a self-assessment, as had occurred with the U.S. Navy investigating itself in this case. He also observed that abuse results when a powerful organization attempts to manipulate the press, as the U.S. Navy had apparently tried to do through leaks of information about the investigation. Furthermore, Schwoebel noted the unfair and indiscriminate recitation by the press of the sensational material leaked by the U.S. Navy.

Also in 1999, Charles Thompson published a book, titled A Glimpse of Hell: The Explosion on the USS Iowa and Its Cover-Up, documenting his investigation into the explosion and its aftermath. The book was extremely critical of many of Iowa’s officers, including Moosally, as well as many of the officers involved with the subsequent U.S. Navy investigation, and the NIS. The book received favorable reviews and was selected by the Military Book of the Month Club as its featured selection in March 1999.


I feel like I’ve been pretty well received on this forum, and not disrespect at all. I’ve made no attempt to cover up my status as active duty stationed on a US Navy ship. There have been people who disagreed with my posts, but welcome to life. People disagree with you.

The Navy does some things really well, and some things not so well. Right now, seamanship is not something we’re doing well in and we deserve criticism for it, because it’s the one skill we should never have lost, and should NEVER lose.

The only way we’ll fix it is being honest internally with ourselves as to what the problem is, and what we can do to make sure it actually gets fixed.


The biggest disappointment in this forum and this particular thread is the underlying arrogance within the Mariner community is the presumption that these sorts of human errors are isolated to the Navy, as if to say professional mariners with all their seafaring experience don’t also occasionally make mistakes, that somehow their exceptional education eliminates risk that they Navy welcomes.

History is full of maritime calamities, many involving the US-flag. EL FARO didn’t sink as an act of God. Human error lead to the loss of the ship and and all hands.

People make mistakes. As a former Mariner, active SWO and certified flight instructor, I find some of these discussions interesting from a safety and root cause analysis perspective.

The Airplane Owners and Pilots Association administered a safety assessment to its members a few years ago and something like more than 90% of its members believed that they were safer, better, and more competent than the average pilot. They also found that pilots with humility and some degree of self doubt made for a much more safe and professional aviation. In fact, the longer someone had flown, the more experience they had, the more likely it was that they believed they could be involved in a mishap, and less likely they were to point fingers.

Not sure this forum’s members can say the same. They sure are quick to judge.

When I joined the Navy (former deckie) I asked to be 1st LT on a DDG - was assigned to FITZGERALD in San Diego as Communications Officer managing IT computer systems. My peer, who had a computer science degree was assigned to the ship as 1st LT. I’ll never forget our conversation with the ships XO over a pay phone to inform him of the very obvious mistake in our assignments. He listened then said “This was no mistake - if he dies you can do his job, if he dies you can do his”.

Mariners forget that there are very real, valid, reasons for the way the navy does business. As the Pilot In Command of an aircraft going into harms way you must know the aircraft’s systems inside and out. The same can be said for a SWO Department Head and certainly the CO.

I just finished my command tour, in 7th Fleet. I have to know my ship better than a master. The tactical employment of the ship demands an indepth understanding of combat systems, engineering, weapons, and how to get the ship from A to B. As the commanding officer of a military command the CO also has to know how to administer the UCMJ, balance a budget, manage maintenance, and plan the care and feeding of 300 souls.

It’s pretty easy to cast stones at a system you have little knowledge of and make fun of others misfortune.

I think mistakes were made, and changes will come.

I also think there will be another incident in the Navy, and another incident in the Merchant Marine. Humans are prone to error.

Rather than sling arrows based on limited or dated knowledge of a warship. Just offer some advice on watchstanding and thank folks for their service.

The do a much more complex job for much less money.

I get that there is little recognition for the merchant marine (all the comments about lack of parades). But your anger is misplaced. Seek Congress not the Navy.



Did you not volunteer for your job in the navy? And you also are paid, quite well, I would add. And you also get a nice pension for the rest of your life, do you not? A pension that likely pay you more in total dollars than you earned while on active duty.


Just checked your credentials at and do see very little experience as Navigator and that is exactly what’s wrong with the US Navy, the guys driving the boat and tasked to stay clear of other vessels and land have little or no experience.


And as you can see, once you accept a tour in the command triad (CO, XO, and CMC) you are considered a “public figure” and your life is on public display.

I never served as Navigator though as a licensed deck officer I can attest to the quality of navigation training I received in the Navy during Division Officer, Department Head, and CO/XO pipeline. It was on par with my training as a Mariner for the equipment configuration of the warship. What I mean by that is… at KP we were trained on a wide variety of radars and scopehead and plotting because KP could not possibly know what sort of ships we would go to. The Navy is like a shipping company that owns its own traning - it has the ability to tailor its training to the specific equipment it owns. This training was in addition to regular BRM and ARPA training and the hours of MSI bridge simulator training under the direction of a master Mariner, and quarterly Rules exams. So, I won’t argue that the level of training is the same. Mariners are trained in a more extensive sense because they must be able to serve on a wide variety of ships with a wide variety of capabilities and limitations. It would be inefficient to train naval officers to the same extent… most Navy bridges are equipped with very similar equipment.

Could there be more training - yes. But at what expense?

While I never served as Navigator, I served as an engineer for 18 months and attended as much engineering training as I did navigation which I would argue was critical to command. I expected my Department Heads serving as Tactical Action Officers to know exactly how to fight the ship given the tactical environment - that means placing the ship in the correct engineering configuration, combat systems configuration, and weapons configuration, given the subsurface, surface, air, and space environment. It’s far more complex than most give credit for.

A warship isn’t a merchant ship pained gray. The training is different and far more complex.

I think what you’ll see come out of this is a demand for more ships so that the crews we have now are afforded more time for maintenance and training. The Fleet is spread thin… fewer ships doing more work. I’d bet that’s were Congress focuses on.

I don’t think we’ll see a fundamental restructure of the way the Navy does business - for the same reason fighter pilots are trained differently than airline pilots.

I think crew rest is an area for improvement. I’ve been surprised to read so many comments about old school watchstanding rotations and thought those were a thing of the past. My last two navy ships stood fixed watches and mandated rest time not unlike the merchant marine. That should be mandated, but would require ships to be fully manned which will require Congress to fully fund manning lines.

Perhaps longer tours to provide more experience. More time to get better at the basics.

But my point is, collisions happen in the merchant marine as well… lots of case studies. Let’s not get too high and mighty.


By the way, you point out how little Navigator experience I have, I suppose pointing to a question about my ability to act as a prudent Mariner…

Were the two merchant ships that collided with FTZ and JSM acting as prudent mariners?