Prospective Commanding Officers at Sea 
By Ensign Ryan de Vera, USS Rushmore Public Affairs 
SAN DIEGO – USS Rushmore (LSD 47) hosted two Prospective Commanding Officers (PCO) and one Prospective Executive Officer/Commanding Officer fleet up (PXO/PCO) on Oct. 15-16, while at sea in Southern California.

The PCO-PXO ship ride, which occurs at the end of PCO-PXO school, is a program established through a partnership between Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS) and various ship Class Squadrons (CLASSRONs).

The three guests, Cmdr. William Grotewold, Cmdr. Michael Crary, and Lt. Cmdr. David Bauer, were met Wednesday morning by Rushmore’s 7-meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat crew at Naval Base San Diego, and sailed through the harbor to meet the ship at sea.

The agenda consisted of two separate roundtable discussions with junior officers and Master Chief Petty Officers. Both groups brought up various concerns, ranging from the continuously high operational tempo to manning and training issues. The rest of the day was open for the guests to visit spaces on the ship and observe routine shipboard evolutions at sea.

“I took advantage of the opportunity to walk around the ship to meet people and re-familiarize myself with the different spaces and systems,” said Grotewold, who will relieve Cmdr. Calvin Slocumb as the commanding officer of Rushmore next February.

“This is invaluable to meet the CLASSRON and talk to the people of the command,” Bauer commented.

Bauer further explained how the ship ride was beneficial since many PCOs have not been on a ship for three to four years due to the natural pipeline of the ascension in ranks in the SWO community. However, he added that a new “XO-CO Fleet Up” program has been implemented, where executive officers immediately become the commanding officers of their same ships upon completion of their executive officer tours. Bauer was selected as the first Lt.Cmdr. to do a full XO-CO fleet up tour.

The three guests were also able to take advantage of seamanship training and an evaluation period during which they witnessed multiple man overboard drills, small boat operations, and a night underway replenishment before returning to port with the ship.

USS Rushmore is currently in port undergoing a Board of Inspection and Survey visit scheduled for this week.
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