Message from the Director

Fellow NOAA Corps officers,

This will be the last Cyberflash of 2019 so on behalf of CPC, I would like to wish all NOAA Corps active duty and retired officers, their families, and our supporters a safe and happy holiday season!

I will be closing out the year with another "guest" Director's Message from Captain Rick Brennan.

Captain Rick Brennan joined the NOAA Corps in January 1992 after graduating from the Citadel, in Charleston, SC with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Over his 25 years with NOAA Captain Brennan has served on nearly every hydrographic ship in the NOAA fleet, and most recently as Commanding Officer of NOAA Ship Rainier. He has also served on Navigation Response Teams, NOAA Vessel Bay Hydrographer, and as a member of the science team aboard the USCG Ice Breaker Healy. While ashore Captain Brennan pursued a Master of Science degree in Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping and has served across Coast Survey including time as Chief of the Hydrographic Systems and Technology Program, Chief of the Atlantic Hydrographic Branch (AHB), Chief of the Coast Survey Development Laboratory, and as a senior policy advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction. His current position is the Chief of the Hydrographic Surveys Division where he manages three branches that oversee all aspects of ocean mapping projects including planning, contract administration, data quality assurance and control, and cartographic compilation.

Captain Brennanís Message:

Thank you, Captain Brakob, for allowing me the opportunity to take up the pen for the Director's Message. I guess once your number on the lineal list gets into the single digits you have officially become "old."" It is honestly hard to believe because it has gone by so fast. But as they say, "Time flies when you are having fun."

To that end I encourage all NOAA Corps officers to remember what has brought them to the NOAA Corps and share those thoughts and stories with those whom you work with and lead. In my experience we are all very passionate about the NOAA mission, and each have personal reasons that brought us to service in NOAA. I am a big fan of Simon Sinek. If you have never read any of his books or watched his TED Talk, I highly recommend it. His assertion is, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." One compelling example he uses is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic "I Have a Dream" speech. In this speech Dr. King didn't tell people what needed to change in pre-civil rights America, he told the 250,000 people gathered on the Lincoln Memorial steps what he believed - his "why."" This was far more powerful and he gathered people that believed the same thing to his cause.

I have always worn my "why" on my sleeve. Perhaps I share it too much with those I work with. But I feel that I have always been blessed with a team of people who share that passion and belief, and it makes the mission that much easier, more rewarding, and frankly fun. I know it can seem corny or uncomfortable, but I encourage you to share it with your team - it makes all the difference. Oh, and for the record I believe the health of our oceans is critical to human life on earth. I believe the mission NOAA performs everyday contributes to improving the health of our oceans, as well as their sustainable management. I believe NOAA provides lifesaving environmental and geospatial information to America and is an incredible value to the nation. And, I believe the women and men of NOAA are the most dedicated people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Whatís your "why?"

CAPT Devin Brakob, NOAA
Director, Commissioned Personnel Center

On the Horizon

06 Jan 2020 BOTC 135 begins
14 Jan 2020 Operations Officer Recommendation Working Group

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

LT Jacob Blaauboer 15 Jan 2020
LTJG Alisha Friel 20 Jan 2020
LCDR Russell Haner 01 Feb 2020
CAPT Keith Roberts 01 Mar 2020
LCDR Jonathan Taylor 01 Mar 2020
CDR Ryan Kidder 01 Apr 2020
CDR Justin Kibbey 01 Jul 2020

BOTC 134 Capstone Cruise aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

BOTC 134 concluded with a capstone cruise aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer which departed Key West, FL on November 30 and arrived in Pascagoula, MS on December 4. The ensigns stood regular watches under the supervision of EX's officers of the deck and they practiced their navigation, shiphandling, and watchstanding skills in a real world environment. One highlight of the trip was experiencing helicopter evacuation drills with USCG Aviation Training Center Mobile. The NOAA Corps Officer Training Center thanks the wardroom and crew of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer for their great hospitality and taking the time to give BOTC 134 a warm welcome to the fleet and an overall wonderful experience.

Group photo just before departing EX for the airport

BOTC ensigns viewing inbound helicopter for hoist drills

National ACO Scholarships Call for Applications

The Executive Committee of National ACO Scholarships, Inc. has issued its annual call to high school seniors and college undergrads for applications for scholarship awards for the 2020/2021 academic year. The two-page application form is available on the "Resources" page of the NOAA Officer Family Association website (, under the heading "National ACO Scholarships, Inc." Application forms may also be obtained by contacting Secretary/Treasurer Captain Dave Peterson, NOAA (Ret), by phone (301-233-8090) or email ( Complete application packages should be sent to the corporation's post office address (on the application form) and should be postmarked this year no later than Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

Official Personnel File - New Document Repository

CPC has recently transitioned to a new application/document repository for maintaining personnel records. Though the transition went smoothly, CPC requests all officers log into OPF Online and ensure everything looks satisfactory. Please pay particular attention to documents: ensure they are legible, verify that all documents successfully transitioned, and evaluate and report any issues with functionality of OPF Online. If you have any questions or concerns, unless otherwise specified, contact LCDR Laura Gibson at

Direct Access Maintenance

Annual system maintenance will cause Direct Access/PeopleSoft to be offline from December 19, 2019, through December 31, 2019. Please see to your immediate HR business within the Payroll system by COB on December 18, 2019, or it will have to be managed next year. For assistance or information you can reach out to LCDR Laura Gibson at

Operations Officer Recommendation Working Group

An Operations Officer Recommendation Working Group is scheduled on January 14, 2020 to make recommendations for Operations Officer assignments. Any officer within two 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 ship COs and Marine Centers to discuss possible OPS assignments. For any questions, please contact CDR Stephen Kuzirian at or by phone at 301-713-7694.