Message from the Director

Good afternoon, NOAA Corps Cyberflash Community,

I write to you from New London once again, following attendance at the graduation ceremony for BOTC 143 and their USCG OCS 2-24 classmates. It is always energizing for me to be in the presence of our officer candidates (now ensigns!), as they have completed their basic training and are now eagerly looking forward to mariner and aviator specific training according to their first fleet assignments. It was also an honor to see our very own NOAA Administrator, Dr. Spinrad, take part in the ceremony as the senior official present and keynote speaker for the newly appointed NOAA and USCG ensigns. In his remarks, he emphasized the critical missions they are about to begin directly leading and supporting, including our work to preserve safety of life and property, and all of which contribute to our national security and economic prosperity.

Appropriately, I suspect we are all aware at this point that many of our NOAA Corps and Coast Guard brothers and sisters have been working side-by-side in response to the shocking March 26th collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and resulting tragic loss of life of six workers on-site at the time of the collapse. Whether through conducting damage surveys via our King Air aircraft, hydrographic mapping surveys from a Navigation Response Team of the underwater incident site including the waterway’s auxiliary shipping channels for at least partial resumption of maritime commerce in the port, or providing real-time support and leadership through the on-scene Unified Command, numerous current and former NOAA Corps officers and personnel have been providing critical incident response support. I encourage you to read about these NOAA efforts, amongst several others, at the NOAA news release linked here.

As Dr. Spinrad suggested in his remarks today, the NOAA Corps is a vital and highly valuable resource for NOAA and the Nation; we prove that fact every day, and I am both humbled and proud to consider myself your colleague. Be well, and continue to take care of yourselves and each other.

Best Regards,

Directors signature
Captain Chris van Westendorp, NOAA
Director, Commissioned Personnel Center

On the Horizon

5 Apr 2024 BOTC 143 Graduation
24 Apr 2024 Initial Flight AAB

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

ENS Adam Martinez 05 Apr 2024
LCDR Nicholas Toth 01 May 2024
CAPT Nicholas Chrobak 01 Jun 2024
CDR Briana Hillstrom 01 Jun 2024
LTJG Brianna Villalon 01 Jun 2024
LCDR David Wang 30 Jun 2024
LT Kyle Cosentino 30 Jun 2024
LT Jacquelyn Putnam 01 Jul 2024
LT Julia Waldsmith 01 Aug 2024

Inter-Service Transfers: Welcome Aboard, LT Shiheiber and LCDR Ellis

LT Shiheiber Oath

LT Elias Shiheiber
On Friday, March 29, LT Elias N. Shiheiber took the Oath of Office at NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) in Lakeland, FL. LT Shiheiber joins us after over 8 years of service in the United States Army where he served as a CH-47F Pilot in Command and Air mission Commander, with an operational deployment to CENTCOM Theatre. Eli and his wife, Sirenia, just arrived after their 2 year tenure at Camp Humpreys, Korea. While stationed in the Republic of Korea, he served as the CH-47F Heavy Lift Flight Company Commander responsible for over 70 personnel, training development, and tactical employment of 13 CH-47F Helicopters across the PACOM Theatre. He's also spent time as a Component Repair Platoon Leader of an Aviation Support Company during his time at Fort Drum, NY.

LT Shiheiber and his wife, Sirenia

Both Eli and Sirenia were born and raised in Chicago, IL. LT Shiheiber earned his BS in Aviation Maintenance Technologies with a specialization in helicopters and received his FAA Airframe and Powerplant License from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale. Eli and Sirenia are super excited for the opportunity to continue to serve and become a part of the NOAA Corps team. Welcome Aboard LT Shiheiber and Sirenia!


LCDR Ellis and family

LCDR Jacob Ellis
LCDR Jacob Ellis also joined us this week, taking the Oath of Office at AOC on April 2, 2024. LCDR Ellis graduated from the US Naval Academy with a major in Aerospace Engineering. He served 10 years in the Navy flying P-3C's in 5th and 7th Fleet, and will be flying the WP-3D Orion. LCDR Ellis shared, "I greatly appreciate all the help fellow officers have provided me in order to get here. My family and I are thankful for the warm welcome to the AOC and the NOAA Corps and are excited for what the future holds!"

Please give LCDR Ellis and LT Shiheiber a warm welcome into the NOAA Corps community.

NASA Astronaut Candidate Program

NASA's Astronaut Program is in the process of selecting the Astronaut Candidate Class of 2024 and the deadline for applications is approaching. NOAA Corps officers who meet the minimum eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply through the application period: March 5th through April 16th. The application requirements can be found on the USA Jobs application site:

More details about the full program can be found at the NASA website with a timeline for astronaut candidate selection at Be sure to bookmark this site if you are tracking this process.

Contact CDR Andrew Colegrove, Chief, Officer Career Management Division, at 301-713-7748 or for information.

End of the Year Package - Extended

The End of the Year Package (EOYP) will be reactivated and extended for an additional three weeks until April 30th. Please be sure to complete all of the package requirements. Any officers at the end of April that have not completed the EOYP will be receiving a direct e-mail, as it is of critical importance to ensure your CPC team has the most accurate information. To date, 47 officers have partially completed the EOYP, and 46 officers have not started it. For those 93 officers that are still pending, please use the next three weeks to complete. Thank you to the 243 officers who have completed their EOYP - Bravo Zulu!

For any questions regarding the BAH Dependency Worksheet, please contact Katherine Raymond ( For general questions about the EOYP, please contact CDR Andrew Colegrove (

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

On March 29, 2024, the White House issued a proclamation about April being Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month and urging "all Americans to support sexual assault survivors, including when survivors reach out and disclose abuse, and to strengthen our efforts to prevent this abuse in the first place."

This month, NOAA’s Workplace Violence Prevention and Response has several events planned in keeping with this call to action, and focused around the theme of "Building Connected Communities." Specific information for all of these events can be found on the WVPR intranet site, in the fliers attached below, and in future emails.

Our Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment (SASH) campaign begins on April 10th with a “Take a Stand Against SASH Day” that features a series of workshops to help the NOAA community understand the resources available in our agency and to encourage all of us to shape our workplace into an environment that supports survivors of SASH and creates a climate where inappropriate sexual behavior is not tolerated.

On April 17th, Dr. Jennifer Freyd will discuss the concept of “Institutional Betrayal” and the importance of organizations protecting its members from harm. Lastly, April 24th is International Denim Day, when people around the world wear denim in solidarity against victim blaming in instances of SASH. The campaign began in 1999 after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the justices felt that the victim’s jeans had been so tight that she must have helped the person who raped her remove them, thereby implying consent.

You are invited to participate in all of these activities this month to increase the awareness of SASH in our workplace and to help create a more respectful and supportive working environment.

Have questions about what WVPR does and how SASH is handled here at NOAA? Visit the FAQs section of our website to learn more.

WVPR is dedicated to creating a safe and inclusive work environment by providing resources and support to all of NOAA. If you have experienced a SASH incident and would like to receive victim advocacy services, please contact us via As a reminder, all NOAA employees, contractors and affiliates can contact the Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment (SASH) Helpline 24/7 at 1-866-288-6558 or

New! Refusal of Quarters and Responsibility Pay - Submission via OPF Ticket

There is now a new, more effective system to submit your Refusal of Quarters Memos and Responsibility pay via OPF. Both options are now available as drop downs under "Payroll".

To access, log in to your OPF, select "Option Action Request (aka Ticket)", and select "Payroll" under the top dropdown. Both Refusal of Quarters and Responsibility pay will show up under the second dropdown when Payroll has been selected.

Please continue to use the same memo format for Refusal of Quarters. Responsibility pay is available for Command assignments on a ship. Please attach the approval memo/message from the appropriate Marine Operations Center for Responsibility pay.

For any questions, please submit as a ticket via OPF using the appropriate dropdown options.

Update to NCD Chapter 6 (06203 - Regular Liberty)

The Director recently approved an update to NOAA Corps Directives (NCD) Chapter 6 (Leave & Liberty). In order to align NCD 06203 (Regular Liberty) with other uniformed services and Department of Defense Instruction 1327.06 (Leave and Liberty Policy and Procedures), the length of regular liberty periods shall now, "...not exceed three days in length, except in the case of federal holidays, weekends, and periods specifically extended by the President."

In addition to the aforementioned periods that may be specifically extended by the President, and per NCD 06204 (Special Liberty), leave granting authorities may also grant four days or less (up to 96 continuous hours) of special liberty periods, not combined in continuous absence from an officer's duty station with leave. As a reminder, RADM Hann has approved up to 96-hour special liberty periods for each of the CY2024 federal holidays.

Please contact your friendly CPC staff with any questions about this or any other NOAA Corps related policies.

LANTERN Opportunities for NOAA Corps Officers

NOAA's L·A·N·T·E·R·N is a development program to promote employee growth, networking, and collaboration. We are pleased to announce that NOAA Corps Officers are eligible to participate in this program, pending final approval from the Director, NOAA Corps (or CPC, depending on the length of the detail).

Here is the process for NOAA Corps Officers to apply:

  • Officer identifies opportunity from the LANTERN Website
  • Officer routes an approval memo through their supervisor to Assignment Coordinator
  • Assignment Coordinator confirms receipt and works to draft a detail memo
  • At this time, the Officer can apply for the LANTERN opportunity
  • IF ACCEPTED, Officer returns completed draft detail memo back to the Assignment Coordinator
  • The detail memo and the memo from the supervisor are provided to the Director, NOAA Corps (or CPC depending on the length of the assignment) requesting approval
  • Officer may start detail after the signed memo is received (this process takes about one week)

This memo is used in lieu of submitting an SF-52, which is required for civilian employees. To learn more about the L·A·N·T·E·R·N program, contact the OMAO representative, LCDR Cherisa Friedlander at For more information about the detail letters, contact LT Melissa Trede at