History: Pioneering Highways for Doctorates
As an organization,we pride ourselves on our technical skills and knowledge of the earth, ocean, and atmosphere. Numerous officers either came into the Corps with a PhD or obtained one while on active duty with the Corps. The question arises, who among our colleagues was the first to either come into the Corps with a PhD or obtain one while on active duty? The first officer in NOAA Corps or the Commissioned Corps of the Coast and Geodetic Survey to earn a PhD was Lieutenant (j.g.) Jerry Hall Service in 1928. The title of his dissertation was "The Transmission of Sound Through Sea Water." He was awarded the PhD under the auspices of the Department of Physics at Ohio State University.
LTjg Service's work in ocean acoustics began in 1924 when the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer GUIDE transited to the west coast of the United States from Norfolk, Virginia. The GUIDE was equipped with a Hayes Sonic Depth Finder, the very first acoustic sounding instrument installed on a C&GS ship. Accompanying the transit was Commander Nicholas Heck who had conducted acoustic studies related to submarine detection during World War I and was the prime inventor of the first survey quality offshore navigation system - Radio-Acoustic Ranging. Heck and Service took simultaneous piano wire soundings and acoustic soundings at numerous points during the transit to San Diego including in the Puerto Rico Trench.
From these comparisons they produced the first sound velocity tables that were published in C&GS Special Publication No. 108, "Velocity of Sound in Sea Water." The included tables preceded the more famous British Mathews Tables by three years. Not incidentally, Heck and Service were the first to discover the increase of sound velocity with depth and incorporated that discovery into their tables. Service left the C&GS shortly after obtaining his PhD and spent much of the remainder of his career as a professor at Michigan Tech. He served six years in the Navy in World War II and retired as a naval reserve Captain following the war.
Following Jerry Service's obtaining a PhD in 1928, a number of honorary PhD's or equivalent were awarded over the next forty years. However, the next PhD being awarded to a NOAA Corps officer for formal academic study was awarded to Commander John Bossler in 1971, also from Ohio State. Commander Bossler went on to become a Rear Admiral and become head of Charting and Geodetic Services in 1984.
NOAA Association of Commissioned Officers annual Junior Officer of the Year, Science, and Engineering awards
The NOAA Association of Commissioned Officers (ACO) administers the annual Junior Officer of the Year, Science, and Engineering awards. The ACO recognizes the wide range of accomplishments and contributions of NOAA's uniformed personnel, and encourages all commands consider nominating officers for these honors. Nominations for the 2017 awards are due by 06 April 2018.
Nomination Procedure: A nomination for a NOAA ACO award shall consist of at least two pages. The first page shall be a cover memo addressed to the National ACO, stating the name, grade, billet title, and job description of the nominated officer. The following page(s) shall be the personal comments of the nominator, which reflect the basis for the nomination. Nominations should include a detailed description of the officer's duties and accomplishments, and the positive impact of those achievements on the Agency and the Service. All commands and field offices are encouraged to submit officer nominations for these awards. Candidates for Junior Officer of the Year must be nominated by a supervisor in their chain of command, while the Science and Engineering award nominations may be made by the supervisor or any commissioned officer.
Submit nominations via e-mail to NOAACorpsDCACO@gmail.com, by COB 06 April 2018. In the nomination email please have the supporting files attached as .PDF or readable by Microsoft Word.
The subject line of the nomination email should be "Junior Officer of the Year Nomination", "Science Award", or "Engineering Award" as appropriate. This will assist the selection committee with accurate tracking and sorting of the nominations. Junior officers with civilian supervisors are encouraged to forward them this information. For more information on the awards, please refer to the NOAA Corps Directives on Awards (Chapter 12 part 7).
Mandatory Veterans Employment and Disability Roadmap Training
The DOC is offering several courses through the CLC in order to help us better serve those who served. All NOAA Corps Officers are required to complete this yearly training by 30 March 2018. Do not upload these certificates to your OPF as they are tracked on the CLC alone.
If the courses do not appear in your list of active course, you may search for them by their title.
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Veteran Employment Training (NEW Training this year, which is now the same for hiring officials and HR professionals)
- A Roadmap to Success: Hiring, Retaining, and Including People with Disabilities
Ship Mess Operations - UPDATE
Recent changes to the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) allow that officers assigned to a NOAA vessel on temporary duty (TDY) orders are no longer required to pay mess bills. Officers are not entitled to per diem (to include $5 incidental) while assigned to a vessel in TDY status and receiving meals. OMAO procedure 0102-13, Ship Mess Operations, has been updated as of March 14, 2018 to reflect this change. The signed version can be found on the Document Management System (DMS) (bookmark this useful link!). All NOAA ships and OMAO facilities have DMS access either via web or local folder system; remember to adhere to the schedule to revise local folders ensuring current policy is available.
Officers who are not able to access the DMS can read the policy here. Bravo Zulu to the members of the Marine Operations Safety Management Branch Team for their diligent work on the new version of the procedure.
The JTR is the governing document for all NOAA Corps officer travel. The regulations are updated and issued monthly: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/travelreg.cfm.
Make a Friends with your Benefits
Veterans Benefits Administration maintains a Facebook account where you can stay current on any opportunities or changes to your entitlements. This link's topic is FSGLI Conversion to a Commercial Policy:
Command Advisory Working Group: CO and XO Assignments
The CAWG will meet on April 4, 2018 to make recommendations for Commanding and Executive Officer assignments. Any officer within 2 years of rotation could be considered for these ship assignments. Please ensure your assignment preferences are updated to reflect your latest interest, and reach out to the Marine Center COs to discuss possible CO and XO assignments. For any questions, please contact LCDR Stephen Kuzirian at email@example.com or by phone at 301-713-7694.
From the Assignment Desk
The NMFS Pacific Island Science Center is considering re-describing an O-3 billet and soliciting interest/feedback from motivated JOs. Said billet would require an individual with initiative and drive (not afraid of a challenge or of the unknown) to work with people in OMAO and the NMFS to design and implement a Pilot Program to build regional capacity and develop a hybrid survey/biological technician journeyman program.
- fleshing out what the Pilot Program scale and scope should be.
- identify and engage the key NOAA personnel that should be included.
- working with underserved communities (in this case the leeward coast of Oahu)
- establishing an agreement and partnership with an academic partner that already serves area targeted community, such as Leeward Community College.
- development of a curriculum package that we can establish with the CC.
- identify and develop hands-on training opportunities at NOAA (both IRC and aboard the ships).
Interest/feedback/questions can be directed to the NMFS Liaison Officer, CAPT Michael Ellis by email: firstname.lastname@example.org and phone: (301) 427-8060.