Why does NOAA have an officer corps anyway?

I’m posting here because I’ve seen vague complaints about this on this forum. I don’t understand the whole concept of having two classes of workers. What does a “corps” mean anyway, and why is there an age limit to enter? I’m confused about the difference between civilian workers and “commissioned corps” in general, what’s the point of having two categories? I found this on Wikipedia: " The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (a predecessor to NOAA) originally began commissioning its officers so that if captured while engaged in battlefield surveying, they could not legally be tried as spies."

Oh great, does that mean that everyone else (mariners, etc.) working on these ships can be tried as a spy under the right wartime circumstances? Apparently, occasionally NOAA vessels are under the command of a civilian Master, so it seems that this reason for the Corps no longer applies?

[QUOTE=MariaW;117828]I’m posting here because I’ve seen vague complaints about this on this forum. I don’t understand the whole concept of having two classes of workers. What does a “corps” mean anyway, and why is there an age limit to enter? I’m confused about the difference between civilian workers and “commissioned corps” in general, what’s the point of having two categories? I found this on Wikipedia: " The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (a predecessor to NOAA) originally began commissioning its officers so that if captured while engaged in battlefield surveying, they could not legally be tried as spies."

Oh great, does that mean that everyone else (mariners, etc.) working on these ships can be tried as a spy under the right wartime circumstances? Apparently, occasionally NOAA vessels are under the command of a civilian Master, so it seems that this reason for the Corps no longer applies?[/quote]

[B]
You could not have posed a better question or highlighted a greater fraud upon the American taxpayer that the utterly useless and overly priced career NOAA Corps officers who get EQUAL UNIFORMED SERVICE BENEFITS to officers in the US Armed Forces which itself is wasteful but at least excusable unlike the NOAA Corps. Tell me now ANY NOAA Corps officer goes into HARM’S WAY? 20 AND OUT WITH FULL RIGHTS TO GO BACK TO WORK FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS A CIVILIAN EARNING YET MORE BENEFITS AND HIGH SALARIES! UTTERLY HEINOUS IN ITS LACK OF NEED AND HIGH COST!

THEY EXIST FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN TO SELF PERPETUATE THEIR SWEET DEAL and IN 1997 WERE DEAD AND BURIED EXCEPT FOR A MASSIVE LOBBYING EFFORT BY THE NOAA CORPS ITSELF TO STAY ALIVE WHICH SOMEHOW THEY MANAGED TO DO. THEY ARE EVERY BIT AS WASTEFUL AS IS KINGS POINT AND MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE!

Have I mentioned yet that I LOATH THESE MISERABLE EMMEFFERS?[/B]

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Here is my opinion. One of them promoted the AB who tried to launch a workboat I was doing pre-checks on. I was in the boat, in the davits, when this happened. We were pierside. Had this occurred in a seaway, i could have been lost overboard. I was wearing a work vest, but The waters off WA/OR are no joke. There was no safety stand down, no nothing but lame apologies and I have yet to receive a copy of the near-miss report… I only stayed because there are a lot of good people here and I really wanted to work here, but my life is worth more than 500 bucks a week, so now I have some decisions to make.

And frankly I don’t care who reads this, either. I know management reads this forum because they told me as such. The safety culture here is sketchy and you need to keep your head on a swivel (more than usual). There is no excuse for this.

PS, the AB was promoted a week after the incident. Nice message eh??

I pray the day comes when some person in power in our government (Administration or Congress) with courage of their convictions stands up and declares that we no longer need “uniformed service” officers for NOAA or USPHS and then does not let the entrenched opposition derail their efforts to end this stoopid farce. Eliminate the NOAA Corps outright by ceasing to take in any new members and force all those with 20 years to retire. Offer a transfer for the existing members to go over to a Civil Service GS position equivalent with their rank at NOAA if they choose to stay or give them a lump sum if they choose to go but make each and ever deadbeat brass hat GO THE FUCK AWAY FOREVER and put real civilian mariners on the bridges of NOAA ships just as there are in the enginerooms and on deck now and start to pay them real wages with the money saved. It is patently unfair to offer so much to so few and so little to so many to run these vessels.

Of course, turning all NOAA ships over to contractors to operate just like the MSC T-AGS ships would save even more money for the taxpayer. MSC loves contract operators because it costs them less to get the same service! Time for NOAA to do the same.

Then the Congress needs to overhaul the entire military uniformed retirement system. Make is based on points earned such as amount to time served in a combat unit versus more deadbeats who never ever get close to going into “harm’s way” getting the same cushy deal as a man or woman who has served multiple overseas tours in shithole places getting shot at. Those warriors are the one’s who deserve the greatest rewards, not desk jockies or pompous stuffed shirts and brass hats!

Have u been sniffing the paint u have been putting on your vessel’s hull? They cannot balance a checkbook nor work together and u expect them to reform NOAA?

It is a nice thought though that they might do their jobs and balance the budget, protect us from government surveillance and lower taxes. Maybe I should stsrt sniffing glue, then I would not get so frustrated.

But does anyone know the reasoning behind the whole “uniformed Corps” system? I find it ridiculous that the Health Service has an age limit of 44 years because it’s a “uniformed” service. That means any doctors or nurses with any decent amount of experience can’t join.

[QUOTE=“MariaW;117873”]But does anyone know the reasoning behind the whole “uniformed Corps” system? I find it ridiculous that the Health Service has an age limit of 44 years because it’s a “uniformed” service. That means any doctors or nurses with any decent amount of experience can’t join.[/QUOTE]

It is left over from when officers were a political appointment and of course has been modified by the morons.

[QUOTE=MariaW;117873]But does anyone know the reasoning behind the whole “uniformed Corps” system? [/QUOTE]

I think you can find your answer here:

http://www.noaacorps.noaa.gov/about/history1.html

During the years before the First World War, all C&GS work was conducted by civilians even though shipboard personnel wore uniforms that were virtually indistinguishable from Naval uniforms. With the entry of the United States into the war in 1917, the commissioned service of the C&GS was formed in order to eliminate the anomalous condition that arose during the Civil War, which placed civilian assistants accompanying armed forces in jeopardy of being considered spies if captured by the enemy. Also, by forming a uniformed commissioned service that could be rapidly transferred into the Armed Forces, the rapid assimilation of C&GS technical skills for defense purposes was assured.

Still today, if a national emergency occurs, the NOAA Corps could be assimilated rapidly into the armed services by order of the President. Over half the commissioned officers of the C&GS served with the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps during WWI. They served as artillery orienteering officers, mine-laying officers in the North Sea, troop transport navigators, intelligence officers, and even on the staff to General “Black Jack” Pershing.

Long story short, it seems as though it’s viewed as a naval auxiliary, sort of like the program formerly known as the Merchant Marine Reserve.

[QUOTE=captobie;117905]
Long story short, it seems as though it’s viewed as a naval auxiliary, sort of like the program formerly known as the Merchant Marine Reserve.[/QUOTE]

I’m confused. How is this different from militarizing merchant mariners during wartime? What skills do NOAA officers have that merchant mariners don’t that are useful during wartime? Are they trained in arms, etc?

Wikipedia says: "The people of the merchant marine are called merchant mariners, and are civilian except in times of war, when, in accordance with the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 they are considered military personnel. "

Sounds kinda like what you posted about NOAA officers. So again, what’s the point of having these uniformed officers? What’s the difference? We’ve ruled out the “fast militarization” part, don’t you think?

[QUOTE=“MariaW;117945”]So again, what’s the point of having these uniformed officers? What’s the difference? We’ve ruled out the “fast militarization” part, don’t you think?[/QUOTE]

NOAA officers aren’t just navigators, they have pilots, divers, cartographers, etc. Also, they are much faster to militarize because they already have rank and know military customs and protocol.

Personally, I don’t think having a trained, highly educated cadre of scientist, divers, pilots, oceanographers, hydrographers, cartographers, meteorologists, with seagoing experience, that can be rapidly militarized is something that should be scrapped so easily. There are MANY other pork items on the list above NOAA corps in priority for deletion, I think. Myriad welfare and foreign aid programs come to mind. Call me militaristic, whatever. I call it rational self interest for our nation.

[QUOTE=MariaW;117945]Wikipedia says: "The people of the merchant marine are called merchant mariners, and are civilian except in times of war, when, in accordance with the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 they are considered military personnel. "[/QUOTE]

This is incorrect. The Merchant Marine Act of 1936 established the Merchant Marine Reserve, now called the Strategic Sealift Officer Program. Licensed deck, engine, and radio officers have the option of obtaining a direct commission as a U.S. Navy reserve officer, but there is no obligation to do so.

Merchant mariners are not considered military personnel in wartime. Not during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, or the current war have merchant mariners been considered military personnel. In fact, service in the merchant marine would have exempted you from the draft (I know that during World War II you were only allowed a certain number of days between ships. Wait to long and you were eligible to be drafted in the Army.).

why the HELL is everybody trying to find some “rational” reason for their to be a uniformed NOAA Corps? There is no reason other than it is a very sweet deal for those who get in and out in 20 with a lifetime pension and then able to either go back to work for the federal government or any other place and take their training and experience with them when they go. I’d like to have $7500 or more a month for the rest of my life at 42 years old and an unlimited master’s license or multiengine pilot’s certificate.

Many of these supposed retired “warriors” are making absolute bank and any attempt to take away their silver spoon makes them cry like babies who have had their binkies taken out of their mouths. Not since 1997 has anyone in any administration or the Congress had the balls to try to do it again! It is sickening how special interests control the process in Washington and the NOAA Corps is just another like KP.

[QUOTE=captobie;117966]This is incorrect. The Merchant Marine Act of 1936 established the Merchant Marine Reserve, now called the Strategic Sealift Officer Program. Licensed deck, engine, and radio officers have the option of obtaining a direct commission as a U.S. Navy reserve officer, but there is no obligation to do so.

Merchant mariners are not considered military personnel in wartime. Not during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, or the current war have merchant mariners been considered military personnel. In fact, service in the merchant marine would have exempted you from the draft (I know that during World War II you were only allowed a certain number of days between ships. Wait to long and you were eligible to be drafted in the Army.).[/QUOTE]

Which proves the danger of using wikipedia as your source!

[QUOTE=Slick Cam;117964]Personally, I don’t think having a trained, highly educated cadre of scientist, divers, pilots, oceanographers, hydrographers, cartographers, meteorologists, with seagoing experience, that can be rapidly militarized is something that should be scrapped so easily. There are MANY other pork items on the list above NOAA corps in priority for deletion, I think. Myriad welfare and foreign aid programs come to mind. Call me militaristic, whatever. I call it rational self interest for our nation.[/QUOTE]

Except for the fact that most of the “trained, highly educated cadre of scientists, divers, oceanographers, hydrographers,cartographers, meteorologists” aren’t NOAA corps. Many of those jobs are posted for “civilians” on usajobs. If you want such highly trained people, why is there an age limit to enter?

The USGS has a similer “cadre”, why aren’t they forced to have an officer Corps? Most “highly educated” people don’t opt to join a uniformed military type organization. Your argument doesn’t hold much water.

Here is an article by Stars and Stripes about the NOAA Corps. The article says 40% ex military, I doubt that. Its probably closer to 10%- 15%.

If it is such a great thing (according to the gov’t) why doesn’t MSC have the equivalent? That would make more sense, or am I missing something? It sounds like there are more civilian mates, captains, etc. in MSC than in NOAA?

[QUOTE=captobie;117966]This is incorrect. The Merchant Marine Act of 1936 established the Merchant Marine Reserve, now called the Strategic Sealift Officer Program. Licensed deck, engine, and radio officers have the option of obtaining a direct commission as a U.S. Navy reserve officer, but there is no obligation to do so.

[/QUOTE]

Can you get a “direct commission as a U.S. Navy reserve officer” if you are older than the cut off for entering the Navy?

Because they don’t want to hire old people.

[QUOTE=MariaW;118002]Can you get a “direct commission as a U.S. Navy reserve officer” if you are older than the cut off for entering the Navy?[/QUOTE]

All direct commissioning programs have an age limit. If memory serves me it varies by the particular programs and skills. I would be shocked if any direct commissioning program had an age limit over 44 though.