Message from the Director

NOAA Corps Community -

I hope everyone is doing well, and you were able to enjoy a safe and productive week. For me, being safe and productive in 2020 has had a much different meaning than it did in previous years, and that has taken some adjusting. I encourage you to be mindful of what that means to you and those around you as we tackle a wide variety of personal and professional challenges heading into November and December. In the words of famous boxer Muhammad Ali, "It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it's the pebble in your shoe."

We have several updates in this week's Cyberflash, but first I want to highlight that next Tuesday is Election Day. I urge each of you to take advantage of your right to share your voice in this, and any election. As Commissioned Officers, we walk a unique line in the world of politics, but voting is not political; voting is an act of citizenship and exercising responsibility. Voting is a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure the continuation of our representative democracy and our collective future.

Keep up the great work, be safe, and I look forward to connecting with you.

Warm Regards,

Directors signature
CAPT Chad Cary, NOAA
Director, Commissioned Personnel Center

On the Horizon

03 Nov 2020 Coaching and Mentoring Webinar
04 Nov 2020 Diversity Recruiting Strategy Webinar
16 Nov 2020 BOTC Graduation
02 Dec 2020 Officer Assignment Board, O-4/O-5 Shore Assignments
Dec 2020 Aviation Advisory Board, Initial Flight Training

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

CAPT Devin Brakob 01 Dec 2020
LTJG Sara Wood 01 Dec 2020
LCDR Ryan Wartick 01 Jan 2021
CDR Sean Cimilluca 01 Mar 2021
LTJG Tyler Fifield 22 Mar 2021

Leaders in the NOAA Corps

CDR Olivia A. Hauser

CDR Olivia A. Hauser is the President of the Pacific Association of Commissioned Officers and has been leading an impressive effort on the West Coast to bring officers together, raise morale, and contribute to local communities. During the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDR Hauser quickly organized the ACO to host a series of virtual check-ins for west coast officers suddenly working from home or hotels or ships under isolating circumstances. These events provided a valuable opportunity for professional and personal connections, particularly for more junior officers assigned to remote locations. When I approached CDR Hauser about giving her a shout-out, she insisted I also recognize the Pacific ACO Board. The Pacific ACO Board has been integral in fundraising to support Feeding America, hosting important conversations on social justice, expanding mentoring programs, supporting BOTC graduates transition to their sea assignments, promoting tools and resources made available by the NJAC and numerous other activities. Great job, CDR Hauser and the Pacific ACO Board!

LCDR Laura L. Gibson

CPC says goodbye this week to LCDR Laura L. Gibson who has been an integral part of our staff for almost four years. In addition to her exceptional commitment to each officer and her unwavering support, LCDR Gibson was instrumental in the success of Officer Personnel Boards, most notably the promotion boards last spring which were fully virtual. She provided outstanding guidance and support to the Uniform and Awards Board while managing the NOAA Corps Awards Program and several others, developed and tracked personnel action packages and represented the Corps on Joint Uniformed Service committees.

We wish LCDR Gibson all the best as she heads to NESDIS as Executive Officer in the Satellite Oceanography Climatology Division for her next adventure.

LCDR Gibson's replacement is LT Stephen Moulton and he can be reached at or (401) 378-4022. Congratulations, LDDR Gibson and welcome LT Moutlon!

Webinar - NOAA Corps Draft Diversity Recruiting Strategy

In recent months, CPC has analyzed the diversity within our workforce and has developed a draft plan to bring in a more diverse group of highly qualified applicants. It is obvious from the outpouring of ideas and feedback we have received that many of you share our dedication to this effort, and are eager to see what CPC has in the works to address diversity in the NOAA Corps. To that end, OCMD will be hosting an additional webinar on November 04, 2020 to brief out our plan, field any questions or concerns, and let you know how you can help. The webinar will be hosted via Google Meet, and is linked below:

When: November 4, 2020 from 1330 - 1500 EST
Webinar link: NOAA Corps Diversity Recruiting Webinar

This plan represents a significant re-imagining of how we recruit, and will require your help if it is to succeed. During, and after, the webinar we will be broadcasting some concrete ways that you can get involved. If you are interested in helping us find and recruit highly qualified diverse candidates for the NOAA Corps, please contact LT Doug Pawlishen at

Webinar - Coaching and Mentoring Facilitated by the NJAC

Did you know one of the most common reasons people leave their organizations is because of poor employee engagement? Are you interested in fine tuning your leadership, supervision and performance management skills? If yes, I highly encourage you to attend a webinar hosted by Captain Anne K. Lynch and Commander Rebecca J. Waddington about the NOAA Coaching Program and the NOAA Mentoring Program. The NOAA Coaching Program matches those interested with a certified coach and is open to all federal employees, both as coaches and participants. Partnering with a NOAA coach can help you achieve goals, solve challenges and unlock your potential. The NOAA Mentoring Program allows both mentors and mentees to collaborate, build stronger networks, and ensure that we are all gaining necessary skills and striving for success at the next level. The webinar will be hosted via Lifesize, and is linked below:

When: November 3, 2020 from 1300 - 1400 EST
Webinar link: NJAC Webinar Passcode: 0250
Phone: 1 (877) 422-8614 Extension: 104696 Passcode: 0250

Also, in preparation for the webinar I encourage you to reference Dr. Neil A. Jacob's recent email on the 2021 NOAA Mentoring Program.

Speaking of mentoring... VOLUNTEERS needed for BOTC 136 Buddy / Mentoring Program

The buddy / mentoring program set up for BOTC 136 was widely successful, and many involved have expressed a desire to see this initiative carried forward with future BOTC classes. Feedback we have received from the BOTC 135 pairings is that these relationships have afforded the Ensigns a valuable fresh perspective about life in the NOAA Corps from an officer outside their ship and chain of command.

As BOTC 136 officers have just received their ship assignments, now is an excellent time to start this program back up again. We are looking for officers in the rank of LTJG and LT that would like to volunteer to serve as a mentor / buddy for a BOTC 136 Ensign. Ideally, we will look to pair the Ensigns with an officer that served on the same ship during their first sea tour. BOTC 136 officers have received orders to the following ships:

  • Oscar Dyson
  • Fairweather
  • Oregon II
  • Rainier
  • Reuben Lasker
  • Ronald H. Brown
  • Bell M. Shimada
  • Thomas Jefferson

Selected mentors / buddies would be expected to engage with the Ensign they are paired with during the later stages of BOTC, and would ideally continue this relationship after the Ensign has reported to their ship.

If you are interested in becoming a buddy / mentor, please contact

BOTC 136: Transition Phase

ENS Jordan practices lighting and holding an emergency smoke flare.

BOTC 136 recently entered the "Transition Phase" of the program. The candidates are treated more like ensigns and taking on more responsibilities than earlier stages in the training curriculum. The students are just under three weeks from their graduation date of November 16th. The ceremony will be livestreamed, and CPC will send the link out closer to the event. With only two exams to go, the class looks forward to ship-handling training, underway day trips aboard local research vessels, and simulator time over the next few weeks. Lastly, BOTC 136 will complete post-graduation training in Bridge Resource Management and ECIDS before heading out to their ships in early December.

Medical Affairs: Holiday Season during COVID-19

We are entering the holiday season, which for much of the country means cooler climates, huddling indoors, family gatherings, the sharing of food and drink, and increased travel around the country. Given that we are seeing surges of COVID-19 in all but two states, Medical Affairs would like to encourage the NOAA family to enjoy the holiday season in the safest way possible. Spending time with family and friends is important, has positive impacts on our mental health, and can bolster our resilience in preparation for an enduring pandemic throughout the winter.

Here are some approaches you can take to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission during the holidays:

  • If possible, keep gatherings small, and do so outdoors with heaters, or in well ventilated areas.
  • When guests are walking around the home in unventilated areas, encourage them to wear masks.
  • Make sure to keep washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and encourage others to do the same. If you do not have access to running water, please use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and place sanitizers in prominent areas when guests are around.
  • Keep safe around food and drinks: please know that there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or beverages is associated with directly spreading COVID-19, however there is a very minimal possibility that someone can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object infected with the virus and then touching their mouth or nose.
  • If family and friends are traveling from out of town, or you are traveling to them, consider getting tested with results received within 72 hours before commencing travel.
  • If you find yourself having engaged in moderate to high-risk activities during an event, please take extra precautions for 14 days after the event to protect others. High-risk activities include eating indoors in an enclosed space, visiting people outside of your household, or traveling to an area endemic with COVID-19. Precautions involve staying home and avoid being around people considered high-risk (such as immunocompromised or the elderly). If available in your area, please get tested after returning from a potential high-risk holiday interaction.

If, after a holiday event, you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or if you tested positive for COVID-19, immediately contact the host of the event you attended. They will need to inform other attendees about their possible exposure to the virus.

This holiday season will be different from others, but will certainly be remembered for a lifetime. Stay safe, and let's all do our part to keep each other safe.

Need any last minute Halloween Support?

Try not to fret as NOAA's Office of Education has you covered.

Feeling left out of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey?

You're not alone. CPC and other offices have received numerous questions asking, "How come I never receive the invitation to participate in the FEVS?" The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) administers FEVS in coordination with the NOAA Office of Human Capital Services. Turns out when OPM designed the survey employees authorized under 33 U.S. Code § 3001, such as NOAA Corps Officers, were not included. OMAO Leadership is aware of this and have decided to instead invest in the Online Safety Climate Assessment survey system. AOC has administered this survey for several years and MO is about to enter the third year of the survey and the results have proven incredibly valuable. A plan is evolving to expand that survey more broadly in OMAO and those details are forthcoming.

Plan Now: TRICARE Select Enrollment Fees for Group A Retirees Coming January 2021

Did you hear the news about TRICARE Select enrollment fees? TRICARE Select Group A retirees must begin paying enrollment fees to maintain health coverage starting on Jan. 1, 2021. TRICARE Select is the name of the plan that replaced the former TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra programs in 2018.

To learn more, read the article.

Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System

You must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). A database of information on uniformed services members (sponsors), U.S. sponsored foreign military, DoD and uniformed services civilians, other personnel as directed by the DoD, and their family members. You need to register in DEERS to get TRICARE. (DEERS) to get your TRICARE benefit.

  • Sponsors are automatically registered in DEERS
  • Sponsors must register eligible family members

If both parents are service members, choose one to be listed as the child(ren)'s sponsor in DEERS.

How to Update DEERS

Adding or Removing Family Members
Only sponsors can add or remove family members:

Updating Your Contact Information
Contact information includes your address, email addresses or phone number(s). Family members can update contact information after they're registered in DEERS.

  • Log into MilConnect
  • Call 1-800-538-9522 (TTY/TDD: 1-866-363-2883)
  • Fax updates to 1-800-336-4416 (Primary) or 1-502-335-9980 (Alternate)
  • Mail updates to:
    • Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office
      Attn: COA
      400 Gigling Road
      Seaside, CA 93955-6771

Note: Addresses must be a physical address; P.O. boxes can't be used.

Aviation Advisory Board - Initial Flight Training

An Aviation Advisory Board will convene in December 2020 to recommend selected officers for initial flight training. The NOAA Corps will be selecting officers from the fleet who are interested in transitioning to aviation. Start dates for flight training will be determined based on the needs of the service and rotation dates of the officers selected. Previous flight experience is not required for this opportunity however, it is highly encouraged and will help applicants determine if aviation is a desirable career path. Time in Service will not be limited for the purpose of this candidate selection, however it may be a factor that is weighed in the board's decision.

Requirements for the NOAA Corps Aviation Selection Process:

  • Complete all sections of NOAA Form 56-43 (Application for NOAA Corps Aviation Program).
  • Complete a USCG Class I flight physical.
  • Complete the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT).
  • Complete the Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS). This test must be taken after the AFOQT.
  • Retrieve and include your Pilot Candidate Selection Method (PCSM) score. The PCSM score is a combination of the two tests above and your flight experience. If the AFOQT and TBAS tests were completed previously, a retake is not necessary.
  • A recommendation for aviation selection must be included in Section 10 (Potential) of the applicant's Officer Evaluation Report (NOAA form 56-6A), or provide a written endorsement from your current supervisor.

Notify CDR Stephen Kuzirian ( and CDR Brad Fritzler ( by COB, November 2, 2020, if you are interested in this opportunity. AOC will be responsible for conducting virtual interviews for all applicants. Completed aviation application packages must arrive at the Commissioned Personnel Center by COB, December 1, 2020.

For questions about NOAA aviation careers and the application process, contact CDR Brad Fritzler ( or (863) 500-3902. For questions specific to medical requirements and USCG Class I flight physicals, contact LCDR Joe Newcomb, USPHS, (, or (863) 500-3991.

Officer Assignment Board - O-4/O-5 Shore Assignments

An Officer Assignment Board (OAB) for O-4/O-5 shore assignments will be held on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. The OAB will be prepared to look at potential O-4/O-5 officers and assignments up to 18 months from now. If you are due to rotate to a shore/ground assignment in the next 18 months, please ensure your assignment preferences are up to date, discuss potential assignments with the appropriate liaison officer and contact the assignment coordinator, LCDR Joseph Carrier, with any questions at 301-713-7694 or

From the Assignments Desk: Billet #3205 - GLERL Field Station and Vessel Operations Coordinator

The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) is looking for a highly motivated LTJG or LT to take on Field Station and Vessel Operations Coordinator's duties and responsibilities in Muskegon, Michigan. The billet will come available in early 2022.

As Field Station and Vessel Operations Coordinator, the officer works with the Marine Superintendent to manage the lab's fleet of nine research vessels in all manner of administration, operations, and maintenance. Opportunities exist to develop project management expertise in vessel repair/maintenance, acquisition, budget management, scientific instrumentation, and data collection.

The officer serves as the unit's small boat Vessel Operations Coordinator and will augment to support boat crew training and leave as required. Expect travel throughout the Great Lakes region during the field season. For broader facility-wide issues at the Field Station, the officer will work directly with the GLERL Director. Leadership opportunities include coordinating the Field Station Site Management Team and representing the Field Station in laboratory task groups.

Hydrographic survey, small boat coxswain, and working diver certifications are desired, but not required and can be developed during the officer's tour. The officer is involved in expanding GLERL's mission capabilities including: new hydrographic survey protocols, fleet modernization, dive support, autonomous vehicle support and integration of new science gear.

This is a challenging and demanding billet that requires an officer with a strong work ethic and demonstrated ability to work both independently and within teams. Opportunities are also provided to support the officer's interests and professional development. This assignment is excellent preparation for a follow-on tour as an OMAO Operations Officer.

Officers interested in the billet should contact LTJG Hunter Brendel at, and the OAR Liaison Officer, CAPT Catherine A. Martin at