posted on February 01, 2011 00:03
February 2011 Navy
By ISCS Jon C. Altmann, USN (Ret)
One of the measures of being on top of your Navy rating is your readiness for a rate exam. Knowing the academics of your job is only part of the rate exam process. As this column publishes, Sailors will be well into the March rate exam process and looking ahead to the fall exams.
Integral to the rate exam process is making sure your Navy records include all your enlisted evaluations. Missing evaluations come back to haunt you. Certainly, it is your command’s responsibility to execute an evaluation – that does not relieve the Sailor of the responsibility for making sure his/her career is being documented properly.
From Seaman to Chief, the Sailors have a chain of command to seek remedy for record issues. In a recent visit to a NOSC, another few Sailors who move from active to reserve service (and back) were telling me their sad sea stories of missing evals keeping them from advancing. In the past ten years, the Reserve and Active Duty Components have been more “plug and play” – and the challenge to the active command is to be there for that reserve member who is now theirs for a year on mobilization in IA or other assignment.
Many an active Chief had told me in days gone by that they did not realize the difference between administrative issues of Active and Reserve forces. As part of the total-force integration, reserve Sailors will take their advancement exams on the active duty cycles – meaning they have to have complete records following them. Sometimes, the dreaded missing eval is the difference in a highly qualified and motivated shipmate’s ability to advance or not. There are reasons why a reserve member may be missing an eval – it should be high interest admin track to look for those when gaining a Reservist for mobilization.
The most affected members of the “missing eval” seem to our junior Sailors. As Navy leaders, from Petty Officers to Chief, we need to foster care our junior Sailors proactively – they are tomorrow’s leaders. Sailors themselves should not be shy to ask for guidance.
There is a Chief or First Class who will have a course of action – but if you don’t hoist the signal, you may not get the help. Asking for help a week before the advancement exam cycle begins is not the best timing, either (not that a proactive department chief should already have that on the admin radar).
Another avenue for the warfighter is on-line training. NKO (Navy Knowledge On-line) continues to evolve. Even the semi-recent retired Old Salts like me still have access to NKO and can stay in touch. For today’s Sailor, on-line training will continue to stimulate your memory of what those many hours in “A” and “C” schools were teaching you. A refresher visit to NKO may just make the difference on that next rate exam on whether you make the cut for advancement or not.
Today’s Surface Warrior has evolved due to asymmetrical warfare and our changing world. Make sure your Navy record documents your evolution as a trained and accomplished Sailor.
The ability to adapt and overcome obstacles is readily transferable from sea to shore. Thousands of Sailors have deployed and continue to deploy in support of ground operations in Southwest Asia. Supporting logistics, security, medical and intelligence operations have been sterling accomplishments by Navy Warriors. It gives another dimensional definition to Surface Warfare, regardless if the surface is water or land.