MSC - the first 6 months

Well, it’s been a year since I’ve posted, and I want to say thanks to all the mariners on this site, you all have been very helpful in my endeavors becoming a sailor. I can’t extend my gratitude enough!

Well, last year at the end of February I had applied to MSC and got the job offer for Supply Utilityman the last week of June. I was greener than a leprechaun on St Patrick’s day. No sea experience or training what so ever, but was ready for anything and eager to get out to sea.

New Employee Orientation covered a ton a material in a very short amount of time. I’m glad I took notes, and have a spiral notebook full of them. There was a diverse mix of us, Old Salts, Ex-Navy, Academy Graduates, Newbies, Knuckleheads, and even an ex-MSC employee. I hung out with the Ex-Navy crowd as the seemed to “know it all”, and for the most part, they did.

Training in New Jersey was very informative, hands on and complete. I’m glad I brought some old clothes for damage control, as they were soaked in nasty, August pond water that had a slight smell of diesel fuel. They were tossed in the trash as soon as that was over. I liked fire fighting and Fall Protection the best. I even got RFPNW class in, very handy as I wanted to cross over to the deck dept. The UNREP class went very quick and I’m glad I took notes as I was a Signalman on UNREP assignments. If you go there that time of year, the yellow jackets (bees) are very aggressive. I got stung once, and several others did as well.

I spent about 3 weeks in the pool at Norfolk. It was nice to be getting paid during the duration of training, NEO and in the pool. I went out and got some new clothes, a knife and a flashlight. The hotel wasn’t too bad either. It just takes a bit of adjustment.

My first assignment was on the USNS Laramie, an Oiler. I had to fly to Djibouti to meet up with it. I had a 14 hour layover in Frankfurt Germany. Wish I had gotten a hotel room, but toughed it out at the terminal. Djibouti is a 3rd world country where the average temperature is around 107 degrees, well, the do have a base and a five star hotel, but the rest of the place looked like a refugee camp. At the airport, some guy holding a sea service clip board walked off with my passport when I finally realized he wasn’t my ships agent. Some how, some way I got with my ships agent, and I was able to get it back. Outside the airport and man and young boy offered to carry my bags to the van, I reluctantly allowed them to do so and when my gear was packed in the back, the had their hands out, and the smallest bill I had was an American twenty. They had to make their month, if not their year. Driving the streets was like driving in a war zone, barricades everywhere, and we were all over the road in moderately heavy traffic. When I got to my ship and my stateroom, I blew a huge sigh of relief. I got checked in, took a shower and slept at least 12 hours.

Then it was time to get to work. It took a good two weeks to get into the flow of things, but once I knew what to do and what was expected, I excelled every chance I got. I also let the Chief Mate know that I was interested in going to the deck department. He said he was going to make that happen. I worked from 6:30am to 6:30 pm serving in the mess and cleaning various areas of the house. I was signalman during unreps and even got the opportunity to hook up cargo pallets to seahawk helicopters.

In my off time I’d make it up to the bridge for the 8-12pm watch. Spend time on lookout with a former 3rd mate, who was demoted to AB (long story). He was cool and full of knowledge, always testing my wit and watchstander knowledge. When I finnaly understood the helm commands, it was my turn to relieve the helm. It took a little while to get it down, but it wasn’t long before I was better then the OS on my watch, keeping her pretty damn steady.

After a couple months and a week, and 25 full watches under my belt, I was relieved as an SU and temporarily promoted to OS. Not a huge raise in pay, but a great step in the right direction and a huge boost to morale.

So all I had to do is wait for a OS to get his watch book signed off and I would relieve him. Well, it took a while, so in a nutshell, I’ve been a day worker on deck since my promotion. Chipping, grinding, painting, mooring and all that fun stuff. Learned how to tie a few knots. Even got to clean out the JP5 and DFM tanks. Woo Hoo! lol. At least it was nice to get a couple weekends off, but I love the overtime and hazardous cargo pay.

Now my tour is coming to an end as we head to the yards. If I go back to the pool, I guess I have to be an SU all over again. I’m hoping my request for deck training is approved and maybe I could take some leave. I did put in for a perm promotion as an OS, but won’t know for a couple months end of March at the soonest. All I know is that it will all work itself out in the end and I gotta do what I gotta do. I’ve made the most of it so far, and I’m sure I’ll be an AB before I know it. It’s still a toss up if I want to become a Bosns Mate or 3/O, however I will cross that bridge when I get there.

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Keep that positive attitude. That and a little hard work will get you were you want to be.

Did you write this post or did MSC write it for you? Do you actually work for MSC or are you a contractor hired to recruit? Were you on the qualified list for OS?

^now that’s funny

Good for you kid. Try to keep up the good attitude.

Are you still with MSC and what is your position. I have heard that is is tough to get out of the supply department

[QUOTE=wannasea;113180]Are you still with MSC and what is your position. I have heard that is is tough to get out of the supply department[/QUOTE]

He either quit or hung himself.

I think he is sailing chief mate now. ( all the permanent ones quit).

It IS tough to get out of the supply department. Especially if you do a good job. If you do a good job then the Chief Stewards don’t want to lose you and will give you a crappy evaluation. True story. I saw it happen more than once.

In that case, make it known to the chief mate or chief eng that you want to move to their department. In knowing so they ( and the capt) can, when possible make it happen. Evals in msc are a joke. No one pays much attention to them. Work hard, make it known you want to move up and if you are any good you will. With all the talent drain in Msc someone that is a good worker and has a true work ethic will move up, regardless of a chief stwd’s desires. I always took note of someone wanting to move up . If they came up to the bridge on their own time to learn I would fully back them in fact. ( and did many times). In short I’d not care the least bit about a chief stwd eval…,