Director's Message

Shipmates,

Yesterday, CPC staff completed the final requirements of our annual financial audit. As I had acknowledged in the last installment of the Cyberflash, the CPC Officer Personnel Management Division (OPMD) staff that service the majority of transactional HR needs for our officers have been significantly encumbered by this year's audit. Quite frankly, every year presents a resource challenge, but this year was exceptionally taxing. Even with the added assistance of NOAA's Office of Finance and Administration personnel, the past two months has been a monumental drain on CPC's OPMD staff resources. As a result, they have been taken away from providing service to you.

During this period of significantly reduced ability to service our customers, many of you have patiently waited for various things PCS orders, PCS voucher reimbursements, retirement processing, approved resignations, awards, resolution of OPF Fix cases, et cetera. I thank you for your patience. However, I ask that you PLEASE do not hesitate to reach out to me if you absolutely cannot wait on an action by CPC at ANY time during the year for ANY need. No matter how swamped we may be, my staff and I will find a way to juggle the workload and meet your needs. Don't be a martyr!

During this recent drought in transactional service, I was contacted by a couple of officers who were apologetic in reaching out to me in their desperate quest to receive service for their significant and pressing needs. Please do not wait on critical items until you're at your beam ends, please don't apologize for calling me, and above all else please don't feel you shouldn't reach out to me when you've got doubt as to the status of your needs or you need assistance. As I used to write in my night orders, "Call me if in doubt, in need of assistance, and at 0640." You better not call me at 0640 (although it would be interesting to get calls at 0640L from all of our deployed ships and planes) but as "CO" of CPC I expect that you will call me when in doubt or in need of assistance. If you're not sure if you have doubt, then you have doubt and you must call me.

Looking toward the start of next year, I am concerned by a similar situation occurring but in a different CPC division. The resource issue looming on our HR horizon which you should be aware of has a tCPA of approximately this winter and is not due to workload (yet) but due to the unexpected departure of officers previously scheduled to report to CPC's Officer Career Management Division (OCMD.) I'm hopeful that we can resolve these unexpected and critical vacancies by mid- to late Spring 2017. This looming situation made me think of the ship metaphor I had used to describe the state of CPC when I assumed the conn back in February. There's still flooding in the engine room and we're all still bailing as fast as we can, and we still have an inch of freeboard left. We just weathered some heavy seas (the audit) and now, in addition to flooding in the engine room (OPMD), a weld in the hull plating appears to be giving way in the bow (OCMD.)

Your continued patience is appreciated as we continue to prioritize workload amongst our crew and find creative ways to meet customer demands.

Call me if in doubt or in need of assistance.

Semper serviens,

CAPT Amilynn E. Adams, NOAA
Director, CPC

On the Horizon

17 October 2016 REFTRA Begins
20 October 2016 BOTC-128 Billet Night
2017 NOAA Corps Centennial Events
20 May 2017 NOAA Corps "Century of Service" Anniversary Dinner

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

CAPT Eric Berkowitz 01 Oct 2016
CAPT Adam Dunbar 01 Oct 2016
CAPT John Caskey 01 Oct 2016
LT Shannon Hefferan 14 Oct 2016
LTJG Carina Ream 01 Nov 2016
LT Lindsay Morrison 30 Nov 2016
LTJG Kasey Sims 30 Nov 2016
LT Eric Younkin 01 Dec 2016
ENS Samuel McKay 16 Dec 2016

History: World War II Smart Bombs

"I do not have to tell you who won the war. You know, the artillery did."
- General George Patton

"The speed, accuracy, and devastating power of American Artillery won confidence and admiration from the troops it supported and inspired fear and respect in the enemy."
- General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander

Where did the speed and accuracy come from? A good part of it came from the Field Artillery Observation Battalions (FAOB). Their primary mission was to find enemy artillery units and direct fire on them (counter-battery) and to provide survey information to all artillery units attached to each Corps (up to 200 artillery pieces per Corps).

Coast and Geodetic Survey officers were generally the Survey Officers of the FAOBs, but occasionally served as executive officers and, on one occasion, the commanding officer. To ensure accuracy, the FAOBs provided survey control to each individual artillery piece, including azimuth information, and then through sound and flash ranging techniques determined the location of enemy artillery pieces.

The speed came from a system that used field telephones to communicate observations from the forward observing posts to a fire control center. These observations were rapidly plotted, target location determined, and orders given to the gun crew to fire -- all within fifteen minutes.

The devastating power was a result of accurate survey combined with rapid communications, which allowed development of a system called "time on target" -- this allowed the simultaneous firing of up to 200 artillery pieces on the same target with the goal of having all shells impact within a three second period. The joke was that enemy artillery would fire a one-round volley before having to move their artillery to a new location. The time on target system could not have been developed without accurate survey - that was the realm of the Coast and Geodetic Survey officers. They were the "smart bombs" of World War II. Numerous Bronze Star medals, Legion of Merit awards,and French Croix de Guerre awards were earned by C&GS officers. Two C&GS artillery survey officers received Silver Star Medals for gallantry in action - one for calling in fire that wiped out a German artillery battalion and the other for single-handedly capturing 50 German soldiers.

PCS and NOAA Finance Hiatus

Please note that NOAA Finance systems have been shut down for the end of FY2016 close-out procedures. The financial systems will re-open on October 4, 2016. As a result of this temporary shut-down, officers who will PCS on or after November 1, 2016 will have their orders cut after the financial systems reopen on October 4th.

ODU Uniform Update

The USCG Uniform Distribution Center has now received the much overdue NOAA ODU uniform items. If you have been waiting on one or more ODU items, it is recommended that you place your order while supplies last. For ordering instructions, please visit https://www.uscg.mil/uniform/Ordering.asp.

ODU Insignia Ordering Process

The USCG Uniform Distribution Center carries a number of "Breast Insignias" that can be sewn on and worn by qualified NOAA Corps officers. For example, the SWO insignia and Aviator insignia. The ordering procedure is the same as when ordering other ODU items. The stock codes below can be used to order insignia that the UDC currently stocks. CPC will be working with the UDC in the near future to include all available NOAA Corps insignia.

  • NOAA Aviator Insignia: NOAABBSOAVI
  • SWO: NOAABBSODO
  • CATS: NOAABBSOCAS

CPC Webinar General Announcement

CPC will be resume quarterly webinars with the first one scheduled for Monday, 31 October from 1430-1600. These webinars will begin with a presentation/brief on a topic of importance and then general CPC questions will be answered. In hopes of making the presentation relevant to a current/timely issue this first webinar's topic will be OERs and the Officer Evaluation System presented by CAPT Brakob (Chief, OCMD). Other CPC personnel on the webinar will be CAPT Adams (Director, CPC), Monica Matthews (Deputy Director, CPC), Katherine Raymond (Chief, OPMD) and Sherrita Irby (NOAA Corps Policy Program Manager).

CPC will try to answer all questions asked during the webinar but if you have a specific question you would like to ask please email it to the OCMD (chief.careermgmt.cpc@noaa.gov) by COB, Monday, 24 October, so we can do research in order to provide the best answers.

NOAA Corps officers in the National Capitol Region are invited to attend the webinar in person in the OMAO Large Conference Room. A link to the webinar will be sent out the week prior to the event.

From the Assignment Desk:

New North Atlantic Regional Team Assignment Opportunity

CPC is seeking a self-driven officer who has an interest to serve in a possible temporary and one-time billet as NOAA's Regional Collaboration Coordinator for the North Atlantic. The location of the billet is flexible; the officer can be stationed in any NOAA FMC in the North Atlantic (VA-ME). NOAA's regional collaboration network is tasked with identifying, communicating and responding to regional needs; catalyzing collaboration, and connecting people and capabilities to meet NOAA's mission. As NOAA's North Atlantic Regional Coordinator, the officer would work alongside the Senior Executive Service (SES) North Atlantic Regional Team Lead (currently the Eastern Region Director for the National Weather Service) to administer and lead a team of 20 senior NOAA staff located throughout the region, representing all of NOAA's business lines and a variety of disciplines. The coordinator produces and disseminates regionally-specific information on NOAA's place-based impacts and priorities to inform decision-making, develops and extends NOAA's interdisciplinary capacity, and fosters interaction among NOAA activities and with partners to improve understanding of and respect for NOAA's mission and capabilities in the North Atlantic.

This billet rewards curiosity, creativity, initiative and will provide the incumbent with an opportunity to gain valuable experience leading and learning from senior NOAA managers across all of NOAA's business lines. Knowledge, skills and abilities developed include an increased understanding of NOAA capabilities and offices in the North Atlantic, project management, budget planning and execution, writing and oral communication, facilitation and coordination. This would be a three year billet being considered for activation in August 2017.

For more information please contact CDR Nicholas Chrobak at AssignmentBranch.CPC@noaa.gov.