Navy Merchant Marine Cross Training Might Not Be Feasible

““I think that ensigns should have to spend a year on a merchant ship and obtain their third mate’s license before reporting to a U.S. warship,” said Congressman Wittman.

Davidson said he planned to talk to Wittman in the coming weeks about this idea – which Wittman acknowledged might not be feasible but could provide food for thought as the Navy considers how to better train its newest officers.

I could write a 10,000 word response to this article but, considering the official response to my previous articles on the subject, it’s clear I’d be wasting my time so I’ll leave just a single comment:

Dear Admiral Davidson,

I hate to be the bearer of bad news sir but I took the liberty of glancing at the official logbook and we passed “Food For Thought Shoals” months ago and, according to the chart we are fast approaching “Arrogance Reef”.

Your’s Truly,
Capt’n John

3/M license in only a year. You’d be better off only hiring existing 3/Ms to serve as SWOs, and that plan would have all sorts of problems too.

1 Like

King’s Point graduates: make five years worth of sea service on USS as SWO a service requirement for their free education.


Gonna have to increase the fleet size to make room for all of those billets. How about breaking out the ready reserve fleet to do continuous circles at the entrance to a port thus ensuring multiple special case crossing situations per day?

Graduates of the Naval Academy can sit for 3/m as soon as they earn their OOD letter, which can easily be done in less than a year if assigned to a ship that deploys.

The problems facing the surface Navy aren’t rooted in ship handling, they’re cultural. All of these proposed solutions are only addressing symptoms of the real problems. Until the organizational culture changes, there will be no real improvement.


I had thought a lot of their assessments didn’t actually match up with what’s required for STCW or have USCG approval. Take BST for example. The most basic course. I don’t think the Naval academy has their students take BST, do they?

They don’t take BST as such. Every SWO is going to get basic safety, first aid, and firefighting training though. The BDOC (Basic Division Officer Course) at SWOS meets many of the NVIC 12-14 assessments, but the average SWO is miles away from an OICNW endorsement.

We have quite a few hybrid crewed ships. The one I’m on right now is doing a mission that was supposed to be a LCS mission. The navy does most of the mission requirement while the CIVMARs manage the ship and the harder portions of the mission. The biggest thing is getting a OIC who understands the limits of what his crew can do. When the mission gets slow we conduct JOOD training but honestly i wouldn’t trust any of them to keep a look out while I go to the head. The problem I see with sending them out with us is that our navy doesnt work that much and when they are “working” they are sitting around watching youtube videos. I know this because I can hear it through the wall.
On a less screw the navy approach. The only way i see this working is if we get full control over the personnel and can fail them. I would set it up for them to be in classes during summer and ship out the other 9 months when the academies go back to school

1 Like