Director's Message

Shipmates,

Recently Commander Rathke, the new Director, Health Services, sent a mental health awareness message to all hands. Additionally, I've received feedback from my uniformed shipmates that there is some unhealthy fear amongst our ranks when it comes to seeking behavioral health services. This fear is apparently based in the erroneous belief that being under the care of a mental health professional will somehow be detrimental to a career in the NOAA Corps.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear other than a medical review board no other board has the ability to access your official medical file. I can hear the statements of disbelief ringing in my ears after typing that - "But if I see a therapist, it will go in to my medical file and I won't be found fit for duty and I'll get pulled from consideration for promotion!" I can unequivocally state that this is simply NOT TRUE.

First of all, I had the same fears before finally seeking therapy approximately 8 years ago. I still see a therapist at Walter Reed with absolutely zero negative impact on my career. My only regret is that I didn't seek counseling earlier in my career. Secondly, consider this when your mental health is strained, you are not functioning at your highest level. Being a leader is emotionally taxing and will take a toll if not properly managed, resulting in what I call mental static. If you've got too much "static" (anxiety, worry, angst, nervousness, depression, stress, etc.) you are NOT performing at your best. Therapy helps adjusts your squelch and reduce or eliminate this static. Thirdly, from a practical stand point, given the ease of access to behavioral health at Military Treatment Facilities (self-referral) it's easy to seek counseling. Finally, only medical officers in CPC and OMAO have access to medical records. So please do not withhold medical paperwork from CPC. That could result in a disciplinary matter.

Just seeking behavioral health services is NOT going to disqualify you for promotion or eligibility for promotion. To the contrary, I would have a nice warm fuzzy feeling when I sign off on the "mental qualifications" of officers selected for promotion if everyone was actively engaged in therapy. I would like to make it a requirement for everyone to see a mental health professional on a routine basis; maybe once per year to once every three years, or perhaps before and after operational assignments. Think about it. We have no issues seeing a doctor for physical health, a dentist for dental health, but for some reason we ignore our mental health. On a personal level, it amazes me that we still allow mental health care to be optional. In my opinion, it should be mandatory as a preventative health measure and to maintain peak performance. Congress also sees the importance of mental health and put in provisions in S. 171 for mental health evaluations.

The moral of this story is that a common concern leading to neglect of mental health is completely unfounded. If you've ever considered seeing a therapist and even if you haven't, self-care is part and parcel of leading self. Take care of your mental health. There's no professional reason to avoid it.

Semper serviens,

CAPT Amilynn E. Adams, NOAA
Director, CPC

On the Horizon

01-05 May 2017 CO/XO Immersion
09 May 2017 BOTC 129 Graduation
09 May 2017 Hurricane Awareness Tour, Ronald Reagan International Airport (DCA)
20 May 2017 NOAA Corps Centennial Anniversary Dinner, Washington, DC
02 June 2017 AOC Ribbon Cutting
23 July 2017 BOTC 130 commences

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

LCDR Jason Appler 01 May 2017
LT Jon Andvick 01 May 2017
LT Marc Weekley 01 May 2017
LT Linh Nguyen 01 May 2017
ENS Kaitlyn Seberger 07 Jul 2017
CDR Brian Parker 01 Aug 2017
CDR Peter Siegel 01 Aug 2017
LTJG Sean Luis 18 Aug 2017

History: Mission and Requirements of a Coast and Geodetic Survey Officer

NOAA Corps officers are chosen from a distinguished and highly competitive group of candidates. Our predecessor, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, held their candidates to very similar standards we hold our men and women to today. This short description of the mission and requirements of a Coast and Geodetic Survey officer was extracted from the 1931 Annual Report of the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

"Commissioned Officers - The commissioned officers of the Coast and Geodetic Survey are the engineers who direct and perform the responsible parts of the engineering field operations with which the bureau is charged by law. These operations are professional in character, are physically strenuous and difficult to an exceptional extent, and upon the fidelity of their execution depend the safety of lives and property of all traffic borne on the tidal waters of the United States and its possessions.

"Consequently the entrants to this corps are carefully selected. They are recruited from the cream of the graduates of our engineering schools. Each candidate to be eligible must have stood in the upper half of his class during his four years in college. Entrance is to a probationary noncommissioned grade in which he is given a special course of training in Survey work, and during which his suitability for the service is carefully studied. Only after he has successfully passed these tests is he admitted to the commissioned corps.

"These requirements, together with the exacting character of the actual service, speedily weed out the unfit, leaving the corps an outstandingly able group of men...."

Want to add the NOAA Corps Centennial Graphic to your email signature block?

  • Go to https://www.omao.noaa.gov/find/media/images/noaa-corps-centennial-graphic
  • Right-click on image and select "copy" (no need to click on the "Download Image" button)
  • Open Gmail and go to "settings"
  • Under "general" scroll down to "signature"
  • place cursor under name, address and such and right click to "paste" image
  • click on image again and select "medium" to scale
  • scroll to bottom of page and click on "save changes"

Enjoy and congratulations on "celebrating a century of service"!

From the Assignment Desk:

#0101- Chief of Staff, Marine Operations

Marine Operations is looking for an ambitious officer to take on the responsibilities of Chief of Staff, Marine Operations (MO). The Chief of Staff is stationed in the Office of the Director, MO and acts as a key advisor and assistant to the Director and Deputy Director.

Chief of Staff, MO is a highly dynamic assignment, dealing with all aspects and branches of MO. The incumbent provides logistical and managerial support and serves as a focal point for clear and effective coordination and communication within and outside MO. The officer will be tasked with and actively pursue opportunities to improve the organization: identifying challenges, proposing solutions, and leading projects to completion.

A successful tour as Executive Officer prepares the officer well for this billet, and time in this position leads to an increased understanding and appreciation for the shore-side support functions of MO, perfect for a follow-on tour as Commanding Officer. Additionally, the competencies gained equip an officer to exceed in leadership and senior staff positions across the agency.

Additional information can be found by reading the billet description located on the CPC website. This assignment is expected to be vacant in January 2018 and will be discussed at an upcoming OAB. Officers interested in this new assignment should update preferences or contact the Assignment Coordinator.

#0626- Port Engineer/Small Boat Officer

Marine Engineering is looking for a highly motivated officer for an O-2/O-3 billet as the Small Boat Engineer (SBE) at the Marine Engineering Branch, located at NOAA's Marine Operations in Newport, OR.

Marine Engineering Branch provides ships and other assigned assets with depot level maintenance, engineering, supply, logistics and information services for short- and long-term planning, maintenance of the NOAA fleet to support NOAA missions. The SBE will lead a fleet-wide program of small boat life cycle maintenance (approx. 60 vessels) based on condition assessments made through annual and 3 year small boat exams. The officer will write contracting repair packages, as well as support life cycle maintenance of the small craft fleet. The incumbent will develop new vessel procurement specifications supporting on-going programs and operational needs.

The incumbent will qualify and serve as a Contracting Officers Representative overseeing small vessel overhauls and new small vessel build contracts. This billet provides an excellent opportunity to foster and develop technical proficiencies, interpersonal skills, problem solving, customer service, budget management, and execution competencies. A marine, electrical, or mechanical engineering background is preferred, but not mandatory. Officers interested in this assignment, should update preferences or contact the Assignment Coordinator.