Message from the Director

NOAA Corps Community -

Happy Thanksgiving week! This year I am especially thankful for the hardworking women and men that make the NOAA Corps thrive. Some of us are out operating platforms, standing the watch during maintenance periods, or running remote field stations, and others are diligently supporting our operational teams. Regardless of your role, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

A few of my favorite memories in the NOAA Corps stem from the creative ways we chose to ride out the holidays together during mission deployments. To soften the hardship of being away from our homes or loved ones, I was always grateful to see folks organize morale events and go out of their way for their co-workers. Here is a picture of the delicious Thanksgiving spread the hard-working Reuben Lasker Steward Department prepared in 2018.

I wish my photography skills were better as this picture fails to fully capture the whole story. When I see this picture and I reflect on that day at sea, however, it reminds me of how we decided to show up and invest in our unit. The Stewards served a great meal, a few folks helped decorate the mess, and I think we even moved up the mealtime slightly (with CBU consent!) so it coincided with kick-off. And we did this while continuing to collect critical environmental information for the Nation.

How we show up for our teams and invest in our units (at work and at home) is incredibly important. Between meeting the needs of the Service and following COVID-19 protocols, this year's holiday plans will no doubt be like everything else in 2020 - a little different. I encourage you to continue to be a leader in your unit and in your local communities as we remain vigilant through the pandemic. Leaders have never been in greater demand.

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

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
RADM Michael J. Silah 01 Apr 2021

In Memoriam: Captain Larry Swanson, NOAA (Ret.) - October 11, 1938 - October 17, 2020

Captain Larry Swanson, a graduate of BOTC 1, passed on October 17, 2020 at the age of 82.

Captain Swanson completed his Ph.D. in Oceanography at Oregon State University in 1971. From 1973 - 1978, he worked at the Marine Ecosystems Analysis NY Bight Project, and from 1978 - 1983 was Director of the NOAA Office of Marine Pollution Assessment on Long Island. He was a commissioned officer at NOAA and rose to the rank of Captain, and Commanding Officer of the NOAA Ship Researcher, from 1984 - 1986. In 1986, he became Executive Director in the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. Captain Swanson joined the Stony Brook University Marine Sciences Research Center (MSRC) in 1987 as Director of the Waste Reduction and Management Institute (WRMI). His research spanned: coastal oceanography, coastal erosion processes, ocean acidification, and human-derived waste and water pollution impacts on coastal waterways.

Captain Swanson was an enthusiastic advocate for the Flax Pond Marine Lab and was most recently heavily engaged in efforts to secure upgrades to that lab and building, to create a fully functioning shellfish hatchery. Always a "captain" at heart, and as long-serving SoMAS Associate Dean for Facilities, he used his knowledge, understanding, and concern for our vessel operations to manage challenges rather unique in a university setting.

In the past two years, he was working in a leadership role on The NYS Governor's Ocean Acidification Task Force, making significant contributions to the state to protect coastal waterways and understand human impacts.

Captain Swanson was Associate Dean in SoMAS from 2003 to the present, except for 2016 - 2018. He also served as Interim Dean, serving SoMAS and the university admirably and energetically in both capacities.

He also continued to support the NOAA Corps by serving as a Class Mentor for BOTC's 118 and 119.

His continued commitment to the environment and well-being of the planet is one of the finest examples of our motto, Semper Serviens.

BOTC 136 Graduation

BOTC 136, along with USCG OCS class 1-21 and 6 officers from international partners Bahamas, Jamaica, Lebanon, and Malta, graduated on Monday, November 16th in a ceremony at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The class is currently in training at the United States Maritime Resource Center in Middletown, RI through December 4th. The recent graduates will be completing coursework in Introduction to Watchkeeping, Bridge Resource Management, and Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).

ENS Fulton carries the NOAA Corps Ensign as a member of the joint BOTC 136 and OCS 1-21 Honor Guard.

Award winners for BOTC 136 are:

  • Distinguished Honor Graduate Award: ENS Tyler Hall
  • Professional Mariner Award: ENS Tyler Hall
  • Academic Award: ENS Tyler Hall
  • Leadership in Communications Award: ENS Emily Ruhl
  • Health and Physical Readiness Award: ENS Michael Fulton

ENS Hall and ENS Jordan take the Oath of Office during the graduation ceremony. The joint BOTC 136 and OCS 1-21 Honor Guard present the Colors to members of the official party, which included: Commandant of the Coast Guard ADM Karl Schultz, USCG, CAPT Chad Cary, NOAA, CAPT Aaron Waters, USCG, CAPT Michael Levine, NOAA, and CDR Jason Aleksak, USCG.

Medical Readiness Deadline Extension from Medical Affairs

Given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, Medical Affairs is currently recommending against any elective, and in-person medical procedures including those required for individual basic readiness. Medical Affairs is extending the date for all individual medical requirements until February 1, 2021.

All NOAA Corps officers not medically ready due to inability to complete requirements given local COVID conditions, will be granted a medical readiness extension until February 1, 2021. This announcement extends to annual dental examinations, annual tuberculin skin testing, Report of Medical History (DD-2807), Report of Medical Examination (DD-2808) and associated routine laboratory, testing, and imaging. Please note, the OSHA respirator form is NOT subject to this extension and must still be turned in.

Officers who are preparing to enter an operational environment and have not had a physical examination within the past 5 years are required to complete an additional Pre-Deployment Screener, in lieu of the individual readiness components, in order to determination pre-deployment readiness, as defined in the NOAA Corps Directive (NCD) 03101. Please note that this document is available as a PDF, and can be emailed to you by Medical Affairs per request.

This extension does not apply to SMs who are in a modified duty status such as those currently in a Temporarily Not Fit For Duty (TNFFD), or Limited Duty (LIMDU) status. This announcement does NOT extend-to, nor does it have a bearing upon, any current requests for waiver of medical conditions for continuation in the NOAA Corps.

Stay safe and please reach out to Medical Affairs is you have any further questions:

NOAA Corps Promotion Process - An in-depth look

For officers below the rank of CDR, and for senior officers who have not yet served on a promotion board, the promotion process is likely not well understood. As we move through our careers, we will all develop some basic understanding of the promotion process, and receive guidance from our superiors on what it takes to get promoted, but it is rare for an officer to get a glimpse into exactly how it works. Recognizing this, CPC would like to give you a peek behind the curtain to illuminate the process. Join us on Tuesday, 15 December at 1200 EST for CDR Ryan Wattam's in-depth presentation on the NOAA Corps promotion process.

CDR Wattam will cover promotion board composition, promotion zone size and selection percentage determination, what the board is directed to consider when making selections, what boards are prohibited from considering, what OPF records are viewable by the board, how in-zone officers are initially ranked and then discussed during the board, and various other things to look out for to keep yourself competitive with your peers.

The presentation will provide you with valuable insight as you prepare for your next promotion zone. We hope to see you there!

NOAA Corps Promotion Process Presentation
When: 15 DEC 2020 from 1200 - 1400 EST

Click here to add to your Google Calendar

Join the Lifesize meeting
Passcode: 0250

Join by phone:
Number: (877) 422-8614
Extension: 104696
Passcode: 0250

From the Assignments Desk: Billet #0330 - USCG Polar Icebreakers Liaison Officer

The Assignment Branch is looking for a highly motivated and ambitious officer to take on the responsibilities of USCG Polar Icebreakers Liaison Officer aboard the polar icebreakers United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) HEALY and POLAR STAR, homeported in Seattle, Washington. USCGC HEALY is a polar icebreaker outfitted with advanced technology and provides a diverse platform ready to conduct a range of scientific missions, including hydrographic surveys, water quality and atmospheric data collection, and biological sampling in remote locations. CGC POLAR STAR is the world's most powerful non-nuclear icebreaker. It deploys annually to break a channel into McMurdo Station, Antarctica to support the resupply of U.S. Antarctic Program facilities around the continent. The cargo and fuel delivered to McMurdo enable year round scientific research in the most inhospitable environment on earth.

The primary responsibilities of the incumbent are to serve as a deck watch officer responsible for safe navigation and operation of a 420 foot, 16,000 ton cutter in icebound and open waters. Responsibilities include overseeing small boat and flight operations, over-the-side science sampling and leading a navigational watch. In addition, the Marine Science Division Officer is responsible for coordinating research activities underway and serving as liaison between embarked science party and command. The officer plans and organizes logistics for science mobilization and demobilization, and maintenance of science equipment.

This billet provides the incumbent with valuable budget experience, logistical oversight, coordination of scientific operations, and a direct supervisory role which will prepare the officer for a future sea tour as Executive Officer. For those interested in the position please contact the Assignment Coordinator and/or the NOAA Liaison to the USCG and submit a statement of interest to by December 4, 2020. This assignment is expected to begin November 2022.

From the Assignments Desk: Billet #3358 - PMEL Carbon Program Research Operations Manager

The Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (PMEL) in Seattle is looking for a motivated LT or LCDR to take on the duties and responsibilities of Research Operations Manager.

The Research Operations Manager billet at PMEL focuses on the effective utilization of resources within PMEL's Ocean Carbon Program. It provides the incumbent with the opportunity to work as a member of a publicly visible program involved in critical research on ocean acidification via mooring systems, underway shipboard systems, and collection during various cruise evolutions each year. The officer's primary role is management of a ~$3.5M budget: tracking, procurement, and logistics for Carbon Program cruises. Officer works with the groups within the program to ensure that gear is serviced and funded as appropriate, in addition to working closely with scientists to develop cruise instructions. Depending on ship availability, there may be opportunities to ride-along on cargo ships for maintenance and management of pCO2 systems aboard. Budget execution and efficient resource management is of paramount importance in this assignment. The officer is also expected to assume additional duties as determined by the program.

Hands on operation of ship systems while serving in this billet is limited, however familiarity with various ship systems is necessary in determining vessel capabilities for PMEL projects. Additionally, an understanding of the logistics for shipping, cranes, and port requirements would be useful background knowledge. Due to the large budget and logistical support that this billet requires, managerial experience involving NOAA vessels at the Marine Center level is desirable. Past experience with procurements (micro-purchases, purchase orders, and developing contracts), budgeting, management, and logistics is highly recommended.

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

This billet is scheduled to be available in January 2022. Officers interested in the billet should contact LT Libby Mackie at, and the OAR Liaison Officer, CAPT Catherine Martin at

From the Assignments Desk: Billet #7005 - Coastal Remote Sensing and Hydrographic Research Officer, OSU

The NOAA National Geodetic Survey and Office of Coast Survey have established a new O-3 Full Time University Training billet (#7005) in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR. The incumbent will be expected to earn a Master of Science in Geomatics Civil Engineering, with research focused on the application of remote sensing and uncrewed systems to NOAA's shoreline mapping and nautical charting mission in the near-coastal zone. This is a three-year assignment, beginning in September 2021.

Selection for this rigorous technical program will be competitive. This is planned as a 3-year land assignment, with 2 years of academic study followed by a year of guided research supporting the NGS and OCS missions. NOS will cover the costs of the academic program, and the officer will continue to receive full pay and benefits for the duration of the assignment. A sea tour as Operations Officer of a hydrographic survey ship and a strong background in hydrography or seafloor mapping is beneficial but not required. This billet will be excellent preparation for operational and management roles in the hydrographic and ocean mapping communities.

Officers interested in this billet are encouraged to contact CAPT Ben Evans at, NOS Line Office Liaison, for additional information and to request an application package. Selection for this billet will be provisional until the candidate is accepted at Oregon State University, so interested officers are also encouraged to contact Dr. Chris Parish, Associate Professor of Geomatics, to discuss their academic readiness. The deadline for applications will be December 25, 2020.