MSC CIVMAR Command At Sea Pin

USS PONCE, At Sea (NNS) – Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, commander, Military Sealift Command, honored 89 members of USS Ponce’s (AFSB(I) 15) crew during an Oct. 7 ceremony highlighting accomplishments associated with bringing Ponce into service and on station.

Navy Capt. Jon P. Rodgers, Ponce’s commanding officer, also presided over the ceremony held aboard Ponce, underway in the Arabian Sea. Current and past members of Ponce’s combined crew of MSC civil service mariners and U.S. Navy Sailors were recognized with a variety of awards and commendations recognizing their efforts to make the Navy’s first Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) an operational reality.

Capt. Timothy Lockwood, Ponce’s civil service master, and CIVMAR Chief Engineer Blaine Darling and First Assistant Engineer Christian Teague were presented DOD Meritorious Civilian Service Awards for their roles in Ponce’s shakedown after the ship’s refit.

Uniformed Navy personnel awards included one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, seven Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and seven flag letters of commendation, awarded on behalf of Rear Adm. David M. Thomas, commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

Additionally, 10 CIVMARs were awarded flag letters of commendation, and 61 CIVMARs were awarded letters of appreciation.

“The capabilities you brought - folks on the other side of the street are taking note of the capability you brought in,” said Buzby. “We read it in Washington all the time. You’ve done things that have never been done before. You’re also setting the pace for the follow-on version of this ship, still being built.”

During the ceremony, Buzby also unveiled a new MSC civil service mariner command-at-sea and chief engineer-at-sea pin. He presented the pins – designed to mirror the U.S. Navy’s active duty command-at-sea pins worn by those who command Navy ships and aircraft squadrons – to Lockwood and Darling.

“One of the things I’ve been trying to do in my time at MSC is to provide a means to recognize folks for the hard work and prestige that go with being the master and chief engineer,” said Buzby. “In the Navy, commanding officers wear a command at sea pin, the star image establishing their authority as commander. I’ve instituted such a device at MSC for masters and chief engineers.”

Buzby said the devices are slated for distribution throughout the MSC fleet in the next month, recognizing a proud tradition of service and seagoing expertise. The prototype gold-colored pins feature an anchor surrounded by stars for the master and a ship’s propeller surrounded by stars for the chief engineer, with an identifying “MSC” across the image of both.

“It’s a nice recognition,” said Darling. “It’s nice to have as a symbol of achievement.”

Ponce recently showcased its capabilities in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility during International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2012, Sept. 16-27.

During the exercise, Ponce acted as the command ship while demonstrating its ability to stage people and equipment and to provide support to surface ship and mine countermeasures operations. Additionally, Ponce embarked, launched and recovered helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and small craft, some of these assets belonging to the military forces of several of the 30 participating nations.

“Ponce’s been an amazing and outstanding experience,” said Lockwood. “When I took Ponce, I was looking at it as an opportunity to excel and this command shows I accomplished what I set out to do. This command will benefit masters by making them more versatile for future platforms.”

MSC operates approximately 110 non-combatant, civilian mariner-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

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Wow, I wonder if the command at sea pin takes the place of the pay cap, substandard vacation pay, long sea tours without relief and lousy port calls. Just like the USN to install some worthless pin and think that will be approved by the rank and file. Oddly when I still worked for msc this idea came up. None but a very few wanted it. Seems yet another stupid idea the USN comes up with that no one wanted. So what is the master and Cheng supposed to do with it? When onboard everyone knows you are the master and chief, when off the ship on vacation who gives a crap that you commanded a ship. The USN has such crap as they command as ship for 18-25 months in a 25 year career if at all, and proudly display their stupid command pin on their uniform so others will know they had command ( for a short time). Wtf is an Msc master supposed to do with it? Total bullshit.

Everyone at MSC knows what’s really going on on board good ship Ponce. Not sure I would call it an “amazing experience”.

Just like the district attorney told me…“the truth will set you free”.

Wow! Sign me up!

The navy treats MSC like the navy treated the coolies in the movie [I]Sand Pebbles[/I].
Ponce is a roach bucket the navy doesn’t want to run anymore.
Still I congratulate the MSC Mariners who make the sleepy steam turn hot…

Great movie… " main stem stop walve". I can bet to USN treats the mariners like crap. Just like on the Command ships… I never rode one, never would have!

[QUOTE=Slacker;86358]The navy treats MSC like the navy treated the coolies in the movie [I]Sand Pebbles[/I].
Ponce is a roach bucket the navy doesn’t want to run anymore.
Still I congratulate the MSC Mariners who make the sleepy steam turn hot…[/QUOTE]

It’s more like Ponce is a roach bucket the navy CAN’T run anymore…

Anymore? Hmmmm. Once they could?

[QUOTE=Jeffrox;87006]It’s more like Ponce is a roach bucket the navy CAN’T run anymore…

I was in the Med in 1986 and the Ponce was out there, too. The ship I was on, USS Shenandoah, is now part of your Gillette razor. The Ponce got lucky, because some stuffed suit Admiral decided that her mission was more important than my ship’s mission. We were mobile and had a full depot level repair capability and had nighttime unreps under our belt. Ponce? She was a glorified taxi cab for some very bored Marines and sailors who loved to fight ashore- especially other Marines and sailors. Meh.

So…she’s older than dirt, yes. Yes, she is. A friend of mine transferred off a couple months ago and took a spot on the Comfort. He said Ponce truly is a roach motel.

He should have some respect for those roaches he insults so readily. Most of them are older than he is. They are survivors. Their STCW requirements? Waived. I hear a few of them have their OICEW endorsement.

Interesting fact: Comfort was a pre- OPA tanker in a previous incarnation. It is a real hoot to navigate your way down to the dungeon the first few times around.