Message from the Director

Fellow NOAA Corps officers,

One of the reasons I wanted to work at CPC is the ability to help NOAA Corps officers realize all of the benefits that come with wearing the uniform. The transferability option of the Post-9/11 GI Bill is a significant benefit for which many NOAA Corps officers are eligible and can be worth over $100,000 depending on how the beneficiary utilizes it. There are several requirements that must be met in order to fully utilize this benefit. The basic requirement to be eligible for the transferability option is that the officer has at least six years of service in the Military Services (Active Duty or Selected Reserve), NOAA Corps, or PHS on the date of approval and agrees to serve four additional years in the Military Services, NOAA Corps, or PHS from the date of election. Another critical constraint to transfer benefits to a family member (spouse or child) is that it can only be done while serving on Active Duty or Selected Reserve. You cannot transfer your benefit to a family member after you retire or separate from the Uniformed Services. You can, however, modify the number of months of the transferred entitlement or revoke transfer of entitlement after retirement or separation for those family members who have received transferred benefits prior to separation or retirement.

Since each of us has our own personal and family needs, I am not trying to offer financial guidance or advice but wanted to make sure everyone understands the four year threshold and possible consequences of not transferring benefits as soon as you are eligible. We all get busy and the scenario where a NOAA Corps officer has put off transferring their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a family member due to time constraints is bound to occur occasionally. An individual who retires or separates (voluntarily or involuntarily) before that four year threshold would still receive full benefits for themselves but would not be able to use any of the benefits for their family member. Transferring even one month of benefits as soon as you are eligible starts the four year clock. Also, be advised that transferring the benefit does not commit you to four years of continued service as a NOAA Corps officer.

Department of Defense Instruction 1341.13 that covers the Post-9/11 GI Bill transferability benefits can be found here. Enclosure 3 discusses transferability. For more details feel free to contact Tracey Peterson, the NOAA Corps Post-9/11 GI Bill Point of Contact, at 301-713-7724 or tracey.m.peterson@noaa.gov.


CAPT Devin Brakob, NOAA
Director, Commissioned Personnel Center

On the Horizon

Late July 2018 Aviation Advisory Board

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

LT Jessica Senzer 10 AUG 2018
LT Adam Ruckman 24 AUG 2018
LT Gavin Chensue 31 AUG 2018
LTJG Kathryn Richwine 05 SEP 2018
LT Kyle Salling 07 SEP 2018
CAPT Robert Kamphaus 01 OCT 2018
LT Daniel Langis 01 OCT 2018
LCDR David Cowan 26 OCT 2018
LCDR Brian Prestcott 01 Nov 2018
LTJG Sarah Chappel 30 Nov 2018

History: Coast Surveyors as Mountaineers and Dedicated Disciples

In an era of GPS, it is easy to discount the labor involved in the early triangulation surveys by the C&GS. Perhaps nowhere is that more apparent than Alaska. According to a historian of mountaineering in Alaska, C&GS field parties either from ships or working in the interior of Alaska made first ascents of over 500 peaks in the coastal and interior mountains of Alaska. These first ascents ranged from 7234-foot Peak 101 in the Eastern Chugach Mountains to 700-foot High Hill on Umnak Island. In time they ranged from the late 1800's up to the advent of helicopters, for some lucky crews, and today's GPS. Lightkeepers and observing parties ("O" parties) carried both camp gear and surveying equipment to these isolated peaks with packs approaching 100 pounds on their backs. Then they often spent days on the peaks waiting for clear weather to complete their work in the most accurate manner possible. Year after year strong backs and strong minds went into the surveys of Alaskan waters and interior. Although we are not climbing so many mountains today, we continue in a tradition of dedication to mission with years of perseverance.

It was of of these qualities that the great Walter Munk of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography referred to as he testified before the United States Commission on Ocean Policy. While discussing the need for long-term climate observations he noted: "Perhaps the most difficult requirement is that of sustained observations. Long time series take a long time no matter how good the engineering is. Some important climate oscillations have time scales of several decades and longer. By any precedent it will take a time series of four or five wiggles to understand and predict these oscillations (i.e. a century of observations). Neither government, nor Academia has a proven record of sustained observations. It requires a priesthood of dedicated disciples. Perhaps the uniformed officer corps of the former Coast & Geodetic Service [sic- should be Survey] came closest to reward and respect observations of the highest quality." Full text at: http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/oceancommission/meetings/apr18_19_02/munk_statement.pdf

Images:
http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/theb0733.htm
http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/theb0734.htm

In Memoriam: Captain Otto F. Steffin, NOAA (Ret.)

Captain Otto F. Steffin, NOAA (Ret.)  attended the Coast & Geodetic Survey's 19th Basic Officer Training Class and served aboard five different NOAA ships before retiring from the NOAA Corps in 1994 with over 28 years of dedicated service. He sailed on what ultimately became the NOAA Ships Explorer and Discoverer, then later served as Executive Officer of the NOAA Ship Davidson, and Commanding Officer of the NOAA Ships McArthur and Malcolm Baldrige. Captain Steffin was recognized during his career with numerous service ribbons, several achievement awards, and the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal. Captain Steffin passed away last week.

OPF Online CAC Authentication

Starting Monday, June 25, 2018, the OPF Online application will use Comman Access Card (CAC) as the preferred authentication mechanism. After the switch, all CAC enabled computers and browsers will be prompted to select a valid certificate when accessing the OPF Online application. However, those computers without CAC access will default to a username/password authentication after selecting Login. More information and screenshots of the new authentication procedures are available here.

As always CPC IT support will be available to those who need technical assistance at 301-713-7720/21 or support.cpc@noaa.gov.

Keep Your DEERS Information Up To Date

Do you or your family member expect to experience a Qualifying Life Event (QLE), including planning to move this summer? If so, you'll need to update your information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). To remain eligible for TRICARE coverage, you must keep your information current in DEERS. DEERS is a computerized database of active duty and retired service members, their family members, and others who are eligible for TRICARE. Proper and current DEERS registration is key to getting timely, effective TRICARE benefits.

It's essential to update and verify your information in DEERS anytime you have a QLE. This is especially true during the summer moving season. After you arrive at a new duty station or location, update your information in DEERS. Your Social Security number (SSN) and the SSN of each of your covered family members must be included in DEERS for your TRICARE coverage to be accurate.

You have several options for updating and verifying DEERS information. You can make changes in person, by phone, online, or by mail.

Add or Remove Family Members

Update Contact Information

  • Phone: Call 1-800-538-9552 (TTY/TDD: 1-866-363-2883) or fax updates to 1-831-655-8317
  • Online: Log into milConnect at https://milconnect.dmdc.osd.mil
  • Mail:
    Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office
    Attention: COA
    400 Gigling Road, Seaside, CA 93955-6771

Only sponsors can add a family member in DEERS but family members age 18 and older may update their own contact information. Find more information about DEERS on the TRICARE website.

Recent Changes to NCD Chapter 12

The Uniform and Awards Board has worked to compile the following table of recent changes to uniform requirements; please refer to NCDs to ensure you are properly attired and direct any questions or concerns to noaacorps.uab@noaa.gov.

NCD Reference Subject Change
12102 Authorized Uniforms Tropical White, Working Khaki, Winter Blue, and Working Coveralls are no longer authorized for wear.
12602 B Female Hard Shoulder Boards Female hard shoulder boards are required for wear with choker whites and summer whites. There are two different styles of hard shoulder boards:

The "old" style of female hard shoulder boards (i.e. sleeve style) can be worn with the summer white shirt as is, and can also be worn with the choker whites if you purchase an adapter (plastic clip that fits through the choker white loops). The adapter can be purchased in person at Navy uniform stores (not available online). The old style shoulder boards can be ordered directly through the NOAAStore.com.
The "new" style of female hard shoulder boards were specifically designed to fit the new choker white jacket and will not fit the summer white blouse. The new style shoulder boards can be special ordered (send an email to sales@cutteragent.com).
12609 A Plastic Name Tags Old plastic name tag with traditional NOAA logo is no longer authorized; effective April 2017, only the new 100th Anniversary plastic name tags with the NOAA Commissioned Corps logo are authorized for wear.
512 Combination Cap Both the "standard" (round) version and alternative (oval) combination cover are authorized for wear by male and female officers.

Note: the old "bucket" style female combination cap is still authorized for wear by female officers, but it is no longer being manufactured or available for purchase through the Navy Exchange Uniform Store. The old hat style will naturally be phased out of use by NOAA as a function of attrition and promotion.
518 Female Service Dress White coat Both the traditional white coat and the choker white coat are authorized for wear until January 1, 2020, at which time only the choker white coat will be authorized. See 6/13/17 "Request for Waiver of NOAA Corps Chapter 12 Directives" memo signed by RADM Score. Note: the traditional female white jacket is no longer being manufactured or available for purchase through the Navy Exchange Uniform Store, so all new officers will only be able to purchase the choker coat.
538 Female service khaki overblouse Both the overblouse (untucked) and tucked khaki shirt are authorized for wear by female officers. The tucked shirt is a required uniform item, and the overblouse is an optional item. See 2011 "Authorization for khaki overblouse for female officers" memo from CAPT Lynch, approved by RADM Bailey.
N/A Female pants/trousers Per the NCD, pants are required basic uniform item for all female uniforms; skirts remain optional items for all female uniforms. (Not a change just a reminder.)

Protocol dictates that the preferred uniform item (pants or skirt) should be confirmed with the highest ranking female officer in attendance.

PHS Officer Promotion

For many years, USPHS Officers detailed to NOAA have worked alongside NOAA Corps officers supporting NOAA's mission. USPHS officers are integrated into NOAA units and provide critical operational support in medical and IT areas. We currently have 21 USPHS officers assigned to NOAA. Many USPHS officers spend large portions of their careers in NOAA and develop into leaders with their fellow NOAA Corps officers as they progress through different leadership roles. Please take the time to congratulate the following USPHS officers who have been recently selected for promotion:

TO BE CAPTAIN

  • Joseph P. Baczkowski
  • Christian B. Rathke

TO BE COMMANDER

  • Jose R. Finn

TO BE LIEUTENANT COMMANDER

  • Jesse R. McAllister

Aviation Advisory Board Announcement: Heavy Aircraft Selection

An Aviation Advisory Board will convene during the month of July 2018 to make recommendations for the next G-IV and P-3 pilots. The Board will consider interested aviators in the rank of O-4 and below with a minimum of 1,500 hours of total flight time and 100 hours of Aircraft Commander time. Applicants must reasonably expect to meet the minimum qualifications listed above by March 2019. Selections will be made for one G-IV position and two for the P-3 (one P-3 selection will be for initial flight training and the other will be selected from candidates with prior P-3 experience).

By COB, Friday, July 06, 2018, all interested officers should submit an email (one-page maximum) to LCDR Stephen Kuzirian at assignmentbranch.cpc@noaa.gov, with the following detailed information:

  • Explain how your experience and expertise will benefit the programs and missions which the aircraft support
  • Aircraft ratings held
  • Positions held by aircraft (both AOC and other) and current flight times in those positions
  • Any additional information that will highlight your accomplishments, performance, and potential for success as a G-IV or P-3 pilot

Please note, for official boards convened by the Director, NOAA Corps, members will have access to Official Personnel Files. Please ensure that your file and assignment preferences are up to date.

Aviators with specific questions regarding this position may contact CDR Brad Fritzler at bradley.fritzler@noaa.gov.

From the Assignment Desk: Billet 7999 Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) Coordinator

NOAA's Office of Coast Survey is seeking an O3 for Billet 7999, the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) Coordinator. This billet serves to enable and enhance IOCM's mission of enabling NOAA and partners to "map once, use many times," including for updating NOAA charts. The incumbent will be expected to display and develop entrepreneurial capabilities, project management skills, budgeting ability, and team leadership. They will also network with other agencies (including, but not limited to, the Army Corps of Engineers, the US Geological Survey, and international partners), travel depending on skillsets, and take on numerous high-visibility projects. While the billet serves NOAA's hydrographic mission, hydrographic experience is not necessary; the incumbent can develop a new knowledge of hydrography or enhance existing skills. Significant training opportunities, including flexibility to pursue advanced education, exist within the assignment.

For more information, contact the incumbent, LCDR Adam Reed (adam.reed@noaa.gov), Ms. Ashley Chappel (ashley.chappell@noaa.gov), or LT Matthew Forrest (matthew.r.forrest@noaa.gov), NOS assignments administrative PoC.