There is a team of four Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) that specialize in something unlike the others on board. While many Sailors’ daily tasks require them to operate, maintain and fix the equipment that keeps the ship running and able to carry out operations, the ship’s legalman are here to serve those people rather than the equipment.
Legalman are responsible for being the legal experts at Navy commands around the world both at shore and sea. Their primary roles and responsibilities can change depending on where they are stationed.
“Aboard the mighty warship Nimitz, our job is to enforce good order and discipline and represent the command triad in all legal matters ranging from investigations to fundraisers,” said Chief Legalman Misty Masters, leading chief petty officer of Nimitz’ legal department from Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.
The Sailors in Nimitz’ legal department, currently deployed, are now focused on maintaining Sailor’s level of readiness in regards to matters back home.
Legal supports Sailors when it comes to their last will and testaments, getting excused from jury duty, help with civil matters, powers of attorney and a myriad of other legal tasks.
“We ensure we take care of the Sailors so they can be in the fight and not worried about those stressors back home,” said Masters.
Being at sea can be a challenging time for Sailors, it makes dealing with family matters and financial responsibilities logistically difficult. Issuing power of attorney’s is one of the most beneficial services legal department offers.
“I have no doubt they would be more than happy and competent in helping me with any situation I may find myself in legal wise,” said Yeoman 2nd Class Luis Romero, a native of Queens, New York.
Romero, a Nimitz Sailor on his first deployment, has received two powers of attorney through the ship’s legal department.
He has one for his vehicle and one for his children. The power of attorney for his car ensures his car can be shipped or he can get the registration renewed in his absence if necessary.
“My friend actually reregistered it since I’ve been underway, and that helped put my mind at ease once I knew it was good to go and wasn’t going to get towed,” said Romero.
Children could be a huge distraction underway without a power of attorney. Parents are normally required to sign documents for their medical needs, starting school or doing any type of travel, among other things.
“It puts my mind at ease that I have someone taking care of that and nothing solely depends on me,” said Romero. “I can keep my mind on the job and I’m not sidetracked waiting on emails asking me to send paperwork back and forth, and worrying about what is and isn’t being taken care of.”
Legalman are the subject matter experts aboard the ship when it comes to legal matters and official paperwork. Because of them, Sailors can be sure that they are covered and can focus their attention on the mission.