PACIFIC OCEAN (July 30, 2016) – Machinery Repairman (MR) 1st Class Christopher Wismer just finished his first four months on a U.S. Navy ship, July 21.
Wismer, from Kenosha, Wisconsin, is a Naval Reservist who normally works full time as a computer numerical control machinist and is currently fulfilling six-month orders to the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59).
Wismer enlisted in the reserves in 2009, at the age of 21, after working as a machinist and draftsman in the civilian sector.
He enlisted on an Information Systems Technician contract, but at his first reserve unit he was offered a chance to join a specialized group, which required a package to cross-rate to MR.
After converting to the MR rating, Wismer was assigned to SurgeMain, a maintenance based unit within the reserves that is comprised of technically skilled personnel that augment various U.S. Naval shipyards around the world with pipefitters, electricians, machinists, etc.
Every year, for his two-week annual training, he would report to one of a half-dozen shipyards and work on various ships, but had never served aboard one at sea.
“I had always wanted to experience a ship,” Wismer said. “There are a few guys in my unit with 12-plus years who have never been to sea. I wanted the opportunity that taking these orders would afford me.”
In addition to his job in the ship’s general workshop making parts for emergent repairs, he has been training with the flying squad (at-sea fire party), qualified as sounding and security watch and is working on his enlisted surface warfare specialist (ESWS) qualification.
His family supported the decision to come to Princeton, even though it would mean being away from his wife and two-year old son for the first time: She knew that he had been looking for this opportunity since joining the Navy.
He describes the work schedule as the biggest change he had to get used to. As a civilian machinist, he worked Monday – Friday, eight to ten hours a day. Coming here, he had to quickly transition to mustering at 0700 and working until the work was completed, which was sometimes as late as 2100 at night.
One of his recent job requirements was to manufacture a high priority part for the underway replenishment station on the U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCG Stratton (WMSL 752). That part allowed Stratton to refuel at sea and continue operations in support of Rim of the Pacific 2016.
“I have truly enjoyed my time aboard, and I have my sea stories now,” said Wismer. “I will always remember my time on Princeton: I made some good friends, gained a lot of experience, I got to see Pearl Harbor and participated in RIMPAC.”
He will depart in a couple months, taking his newly acquired knowledge back to his unit and having a deeper understanding of shipboard requirements next time he goes to work on a ship in the shipyard.
Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
For more information, visit https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/RIMPAC