Message from the Director

A couple of weeks ago I volunteered for my sons' school's "Teacher Appreciation Lunch." As part of the preparation, I was searching through "teacher quotes" online and came across this:

I was struck by the awesome responsibility described and how any occupation, not to mention a family member, could replace "teacher" in this quote and it would still ring true. Parents, leaders, athletes, first responders we are all a "decisive element" to those we encounter on a daily basis. It is a daunting realization that someone is always watching our behavior and modeling it, learning from it, admiring it or frustrated by it. This does not mean that we can't have bad days. In fact, learning from the adversity faced by others and their response to it, is a valuable lesson as well. Employees need to see their supervisors disappointed; a child needs to see an adult struggle with frustration in doing so they learn what it takes to be resilient. We all need to accept that it is perfectly okay to make mistakes; it's how you handle the aftermath that matters. Disappointment, frustration and dropped passes are a part of living. We can control very little in life, but remembering that there are people looking up to us makes it a little easier to care about and control the climate we create and how we act every day.

Please note, I wrote most of this before the tragic school shooting which took place on February 14th. Seeing the heroic actions of the teachers during that event only highlights their importance to our world, and our need to support and appreciate all kinds of teachers everywhere.

Be kind to yourself and those entrusted to your care.


CAPT Anne K. Lynch, NOAA
Director, CPC

On the Horizon

17 May 2018 BOTC 131 Graduation

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

RDML Anita Lopez 01 Mar 2018
LCDR Jennifer Pralgo 01 Mar 2018
LT Daniel Rees 30 Apr 2018
CAPT Amilynn Adams 01 Jun 2018
CDR Nathan Hancock 01 Jun 2018
LCDR Lyndsey Davis 01 Jun 2018
CAPT Robert Kamphaus 01 AUG 2018
LT Jessica Senzer 10 AUG 2018
LCDR Brian Prestcott 01 Nov 2018

History: Modern Computing Power

In 1947, the Coast and Geodetic Survey was on the cusp of the computing revolution. As the C&GS was responsible for aeronautical charting and related products, Geodesists Charles Whitten and Lansing Simmons, a former C&GS commissioned officer, were tasked with producing airline distances between 492 United States cities. To accomplish this task with human "computers" would have taken approximately 10 to 12 human-years to accomplish. Instead they contracted to IBM to accomplish the computations using algorithms and tables devised by Simmons. IBM supplied punch card technology and, although electronic computers were in their infancy, electro-mechanical machines were used. Approximately 2,500 cards were hand-punched with city codes and latitude-longitude values. These cards had to be checked and double-checked for accuracy as their values were the basis for all subsequent computations. Another 500,000 cards were machine-punched based on the C&GS supplied algorithms (by comparison, 1 million cards were punched for the computations on an early electronic computer related to the hydrogen bomb a few years later). The various machines used in the computation process were a sorter that could handle 24,000 cards per hour, a reproducer that could handle 6,000 cards per hour, a multiplier that could average about 1,000 cards per hour, and a tabulator that could handle approximately 5,000 cards per hour. Ultimately all distances were computed each way and the computed distances punched on separate cards and compared for possible error. In spite of checking, the greatest source of error was found to be in the original hand-punching of the basic data (perhaps the old saying about garbage in - garbage out originated here). Whitten noted that "Punched card methods are being applied more and more to scientific and engineering computing. Many of the larger computing projects of the C&GS could be processed by punch cards now, and with the development of larger and faster machines by IBM, the time is approaching when it will be more economical to process these data by this modern method." The 120,000 computed distances can be found in Air-line Distances Between Cities in the United States, on-line at ftp://ftp.library.noaa.gov/docs.lib/htdocs/rescue/cgs_specpubs/QB275U35no2381947.pdf. Incidentally, the project took only six months to complete.

NRDM vs NRSR

What's the difference between the National Response Deployment Medal (NRDM) and the National Response Service Ribbon (NRSR)?

NRDM:

  • Who is eligible: any NOAA Corps officer or member of another uniformed service
    • assigned to a NOAA research platform (ship or aircraft) that was deployed on specific tasking of response activities or engaged in research at or near the presence of any hazard related to the response; or
    • deployed to the response effort with significant duties related to the incident, including but not limited to officers temporarily assigned to the response centers, NOAA facilities and research platforms in the response area.
  • Which response efforts are eligible: the Director, OMAO & NOAA Corps will designate in writing a separate memo for each national response effort that is eligible for the award.
  • Geographical constraints: must be physically deployed to or located in the vicinity of the hazard.
  • Process: submit NF 56-63 form to UAB for approval.

NRSR:

  • Who is eligible: any NOAA Corps officer (or member of another uniformed service) assigned, detailed, TDY, or attached to NOAA, who provides significant support to NOAA during a period of national emergency.
  • Geographical constraints: none; anyone who provides significant support is eligible, regardless of physical location.
  • Which response efforts are eligible: the Director, OMAO & NOAA Corps will designate in writing a separate memo for each national response effort that is eligible for the award.
  • Process: send nomination memo to Director, CPC for approval.

Please note that hardware for both the NRSR and NRDM is still in production. CPC will mail out all approved award packages with hardware once it has been received.

Embroidered ODU insignia available through USCG Uniform Distribution Center

The following embroidered command and qualification insignia are available for order from the US Coast Guard Uniform Distribution Center. Refer to the UDC stock code below when placing your order.

Command at Sea:NOAABBSOCAS
Deck Officer/Senior Watch Officer:NOAABBSODO
NOAA Aviator:NOAABBSOAVI
NOAA Diver:BBSONOAADIV

New NF 56-63 form

Are you using the most updated form? The NF 56-63 form (Recommendation for Award) was recently updated while it still looks exactly the same, the new version was greatly reduced in size. Be sure to download the latest version from the CPC website here: http://www.corpscpc.noaa.gov/forms/pdfforms/noaaform_56-63.pdf

OER Accuracy and Continuity

Please check your OPF and ensure your OER information is correct. Promotion board is looming closer and it is imperative your OER's are posted correctly. Verify the following:

  • Ensure no gaps exist between OER's. If your detachment OER date is June 1st, your next OER must begin on June 2nd, even if you are on PCS travel.
  • Verify there are no missing OER's. As per the OES Instructions, OER's shall arrive CPC no later than 45 days after the reporting period therefore, if it has been over 45 days since your last OER closed and we have not received it, please track it and ensure it show up on your file.
  • Ensure 'Days Not Observed' is accounted for correctly. Please refer to OES Instructions Manual for detail.s
  • Before submitting, ensure the digital signatures are valid and for ENS/LTJG OER's the Supervisor and Reporting officer need to be two different people.

Please refer to Cyberflashes dated 27 May 2016 and 07 April 2017 for more information.

Remember it is the officer's responsibility to ensure their records are correct and if there are any discrepancies, please contact us at oer.cpc@noaa.gov.

BRS Update

We are a month into the new Blended Retirement System and it is good to see that people have taken the time to figure out what is best for them. A good percentage of the Corps has opted in and will begin receiving matching contributions to TSP this month.

Now that BRS is active, here are a few reminders and clarifications:

  • Those who have opted in to BRS will see "Blended" on their pay stub (see below).
  • Matching TSP funds will start the first pay period after an officer opts in. Therefore, those who opted in to BRS in January will see their first TSP 1% and matching post in February. Although we get paid twice a month, pay for NOAA Corps officers are processed monthly. Side note- USPHS Officers only receive one pay check each month.
  • Officers can see their 1% and matching contributions to TSP as well as year to date (YTD) contributions in the Remarks section of their LES (see below).
  • We have been told that Direct Access/ Oracle is causing some confusion as a BRS Entry Date is being updated to the current date, no matter what day you opted in. Please disregard this date. If you have opted in the button to do so will be grayed out.
  • For those who contributed to TSP prior to opting in and have since opted in - please be sure to check your TSP contribution elections, either at TSP.gov or on Direct Access, to ensure your elections are still what you desire. Your TSP elections may have defaulted to 3% upon opting in.
  • For those new to TSP, your opt-in elections will be set at 3%. Please adjust as desired; remembering to receive 5% matching you must contribute at least 5%.
  • If you are still wondering if this is for you. There will be an additional BRS Question and Answer webinar for service members Tuesday, February 27, 1400 EST. More information will be sent when available.

Please reach out to CDR Jeff Shoup, at chief.careermgmt.cpc@noaa.gov, if you have any questions regarding BRS.

Online Coast Guard Uniform Sales

  • Personnel Service Center (PSC) and Community Services Command (CSC) are excited to announce the return of online uniform and uniform accessory sales. All uniform sales processed through the Coast Guard Exchange System and fulfilled by the Coast Guard Uniform Distribution Center (UDC) will now be accessible to all authorized personnel 24/7 by visiting the Coast Guard Exchange System online store at https://shopcgx.com/, and selecting the Uniform section. The uniform inventory will be open for business and accepting orders starting on 1 MAR 2018.
  • Uniform purchases may only be made by authorized personnel, which include:
    • Active Duty Coast Guard
    • Coast Guard Reserve
    • Coast Guard Retired
    • Coast Guard Auxiliary
    • Navy Chaplains and Public Health Service personnel assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard
    • NOAA Officers
    • Public Health Officers
    • Merchant Marine Academy graduates commissioned into the U.S. Coast Guard
  • When accessing shopCGX.com to purchase uniforms for the first time, patrons will be required to establish a customer profile on a secure web page. Eligibility to purchase uniforms will be validated through DEERS or AUXDATA. Revalidation of patron eligibility must be done periodically to ensure an accurate and up to date customer profile. Users will be revalidated against their profile by submission of their name, last 4 digits of SSN, and birth date.
  • Eligible patrons will be able to browse the current selection of uniform items sold by the UDC. Customers will choose the size and order quantity of each item and place the item into an online shopping cart. In the secure check out, customers will provide shipping and billing address and payment details. Customer payment options include:
    • Credit Card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express)
    • Military Star Card
    Note: Charge-to-Pay (CTP) is not an option for online orders.
  • All customers are encouraged to use shop CGX.com or their local exchange stores. Orders by phone, fax, and e-mail will still be accepted during the initial opening of the system, but will eventually be phased out. Orders normally ship in 5-7 business days and customers can expect to receive their uniforms 10-14 days from placing their order. UDC Customer Service Agents will be available to answer questions regarding availability, status of orders, and to assist with questions regarding sizing or special measurement orders.
  • Like other orders for unit supplies, unit Purchasing Agents are authorized to use Government Purchase Cards on the web page to place unit orders for UDC supplied items. All purchase requests are subject to standard procurement policy and approvals prior to placing the order online.
  • For product return or exchanges, visit shopCGX.com and select the Return Policy Page to obtain a return authorization and shipping instructions, or by visiting one of the 64 Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) locations.
  • For questions specific to order status or uniform items (sizing, etc.), contact UDC Customer Service at (800) 874-6841 or (609) 861-1221, Monday-Friday, 0800 to 1530 Eastern Standard Time.
  • For questions specific to the shopCGX.com online shopping experience, contact CSC Customer Service by email at customerservice@cgexchange.org or by phone at 800-572-0230, Monday-Friday, 0900 to 1630 Eastern Standard Time.

Released by RDML M. T. Bell Jr. Commander, Personnel Service Center. The Service Center for our most important resource - Our People.

From the Assignment Desk: Billet #6900 XO, Satellite Products and Services Division

The NESDIS is looking for a motivated officer to take on the responsibilities of XO in the Satellite Products and Services Division (SPSD).

NOAA has recently launched new state of the art environmental satellites and will soon launch more in 2018. During this exciting time for NESDIS and NOAA, the SPSD User Services Team is the front line for users of NESDIS satellite data. The officer will be an active member of the SPSD User Services Team.

The officer will gain experience in risk management, customer service, COOP and safety activities, and interagency coordination.

This assignment is expected to be vacant around October 2018. Officers interested in this assignment should update preferences, and contact the incumbent (kelsey.e.jeffers@noaa.gov) and the Assignment Coordinator (assignmentbranch.cpc@noaa.gov).

Learn more about the newest NOAA satellites at https://www.goes-r.gov/ and http://www.jpss.noaa.gov/.