food, power, water. I may have crew coming or going,
and we try to exploit every port call to address any
minor repairs. I am never lacking for work.
This is the pinnacle. I could work on a pilotage
endorsement, but that is more of a lateral move, it’s
one qualification I don’t have. I still enjoy going to sea,
so I haven’t thought about it too hard. I like the variety
and challenge of every day. I like that I have an opportunity to serve my country.
I hope to continue as Trenton’s resident Master for
another year, then let one of the new guys have her.
I’m not sure what my next step will be, but I know
myself, and I think after another year, I will begin to
get antsy and want something new to do.
There aren’t a lot of women in the field. The opportunities are just as good for women as they are for men.
I truly believe that, but this is not an occupation where
a certain percentage or requirement for diversification
will really work. A life, because it is a life, of going
to sea is not for everyone. It puts incredible stress on
relationships and families, for both men and women.
I would like to see greater awareness of sea-going
opportunities for women. I think that is part of the
reason there aren’t a lot of women in sea-going positions. They don’t know about them. I stumbled on this
occupation purely by accident.
I don’t think I’ve done any more, or any less than
other Masters. I hope that by doing interviews such
as this, there will be a greater awareness of sea-going
opportunities, for men and women. The industry always
needs talent, people with a good work ethic.
I think the maritime industry is so great because
it does offer so much opportunity. You can still work
your way up from an entry-level position to Master or
Chief Engineer, and if you are capable, are willing to
work hard and have a good attitude, you’ll do just fine.
And if you ever fail to smile when you see dolphins playing with the ship, or you stop feeling awe
at the night sky at sea, or pride when a carrier you’re
refueling is launching jets, quit. Do something else.
It’s those moments of magnificence that make all the
challenges and frustration fade. n
the ship. Having been through a lot of these inspections while I was in the Navy, I just had a real good
sense [of what was necessary].
Obviously, I had to learn LCS, what it actually
brought to the table and how that ship operates,
because it’s water-jet driven vice propeller driven. A
lot more automation than what I was accustomed to on
the L-class ships, so that was a huge learning curve.
It was really interesting, taking these ships out there,
going through whole test programs, putting those final
touches on before you turn it over to the Navy as a
completed ship. It’s really exciting work.
I’ve spent my entire adult life around the Navy,
around ships in the Navy, around the special warfare
aspect of the Navy. It means a lot, being able to build
them close to home and bring this phenomenal ship to
the fleet, building upon each and every ship that we put
out there. It’s better, it’s got better technologies.
Being able to help build that class of ships, it’s excit-
ing. When the crew comes here, after we get done testing
them and taking them through trials and delivery, you
can go home at night and sit back and know that you’ve
given the best product you can possibly give to the Navy.
I used to be that guy, operating the ships for the
military, deploying with them. You always try and
look at those things and say, “Man, I wish the builder
could have done this when they built the ship.” You
can take those lessons learned from your prior service
and put them into the ships you’re building now. It’s a
good feeling. n
Capt. Susan Orsini
Continued from page 50
Continued from page 51
Capt. Susan Orsini, kneeling at front, master of the Military Sealift
Command expeditionary fast transport USNS Trenton, with the ship’s