Junior officers and enlisted Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) took time from a busy basic phase training cycle to help train some of the Navy’s newest prospective Surface Warfare Officers (SWO).
During four days in March and April, Makin Island hosted students from the Basic Division Officer Course (BDOC) at Surface Warfare Officer School San Diego.
BDOC provides eight weeks of foundational training to prospective SWOs en route to their first tours. Makin Island hosted the students for interactive training in some of the most important responsibilities they will face as division officers.
BDOC instructor Lt. Bill Rivers, from Fredericksburg, Virginia, said, “This is an opportunity for the students to come aboard Makin Island, observe and get practical experience in conducting spot checks and zone inspections, specifically using hazardous materials and electrical tag-outs. These are critical skills they need to succeed in their first division officer tours.”
Makin Island junior officers and enlisted Sailors worked with BDOC staff to conduct the training.
“Our goal for the BDOC classes was to set them up with the right people and provide solid, real-world training from both the officer and enlisted points of view,” said Makin Island’s Assistant Training Officer Ensign Chris C. Yee, from Fremont, California.
“Makin Island SWOs who delivered the training all graduated from BDOC, so they knew the kinds of questions the students had and were able to provide insightful answers from their experience as fleet division officers,” said Yee.
The first two days aimed to familiarize the students with the Navy’s maintenance and material management (3M) spot check and zone inspection programs, while the third and fourth days focused on basic seamanship training.
Ensign Natalie Harper, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, entered the Navy in December 2015.
“I have learned a lot from this training, and the hands-on experience means I’ll be able to perform more effectively when I check into my command,” said Harper. “I’ll be a more knowledgeable division officer and a better leader to my Sailors because of it.”
Makin Island Commanding Officer Capt. Jon Rodgers addressed each BDOC class to share his experience and perspective as they begin their careers as future SWOs.
“This will come,” he said, pointing to his gold SWO pin. “Take care of your people. Take care of your equipment and take care of the training. Don’t forget that, because when I see division officers doing those three things, those officers have my vote when I go to sign the letter to make them SWOs.”