We’re scheduled to be back in mid-May [to Virginia] and we’ll continue
to support Africa Partnership station until then.
My day is pretty full. Because we
are on mission, and we don’t have
that much fuel to carry, I closely
monitor the fuel numbers. I have
meetings with the captain and we
talk about future schedules and anything we need for our port visits,
and I coordinate with [MSC headquarters in] Norfolk [Va.] and my
port engineer and the port engineers
over here in the SSU [ship support
unit] on any repairs that are going
on or need to be addressed.
I have a small crew and most of
them are watch standers, so a lot of
times, when there are problems
down in the engineering plant,
myself and my first engineer will go
down and look it over and make a
determination of the best way of fixing it and give direction to my guys.
I have a lot of new guys. I have
some guys who are fresh out of
school, so I’m mentoring them,
teaching them how to be good watch
engineers. We have a midshipman
onboard from K.P. [the Merchant Ma-
rine Academy at King’s Point, N.Y.];
we’re giving her guidance on how to
be a licensed engineer and officer.
I get a lot of midshipmen who
come in and they don’t know if they
want to sail or come with MSC, and
one of the things I say the MSC has
to offer is the opportunity to
advance. When I get together with
some of my counterparts who are
shipping out commercially, one of
the biggest differences I see are the
credentials that I hold as a licensed
engineer and an officer.
Some of my counterparts may
just have a diesel license or a steam
license, where I have steam, diesel
and motor, and now I have the
high-speed rating. So MSC gives
you a lot of experience and exposure to gain as much as you want
out of this career.
I always tell young guys, if you’re
going to sail to get your license, don’t
sail to just get a third engineer’s license, sail to make chief, sail to make
captain. Make it worth your while.
Life as a mariner, I think, is good.
There are some drawbacks — you
miss your family — but at the end of
the day there is a nice paycheck, you
get to see the world and you get to
meet interesting people.
One of the things MSC brings to
the table is when you pull into a
port, you do have opportunities to
go out and explore. Unlike our
commercial counterparts, where
when you pull into port that’s
when you really go to work loading
and unloading cargo and then getting underway as fast as you can to
the next drop-off or pickup point,
MSC does give you an opportunity
to see the world.
I put my name in for the No. 8
[expeditionary fast transport] ship
that’s going to be built next year, the
USNS Yuma. I’ve been wanting to
get new construction since I made
chief. I’m always looking for new
challenges and I’ve heard there’s a
lot to learn when you do new construction. I’m waiting for the names
to be read off and hopefully
I’m penciled in for that ship.