If you are a regular reader of the posts here, you know that I have not been a fan of the “Crew Rotation Concept” that is supposed to make up for the fact that we are only building eight NSC to replace twelve Hamilton Class WHECs by home-porting three ships together and providing four crews. (Previous posts on this here and here.)
One of my criticism has been that if multiple crewing is such a good idea, we should be trying it on smaller, simpler ships first. This got me thinking about how it might work for the Fast Response Cutters (FRC), and I’ve come up with a bit different concept. It may offer some advantages and there may be good reasons to try it
For background, the current concept of operations for the FRC as found in the “FRC: Frequently Asked Questions” portion of the Acquisition Directorate (CG-9) web site indicates, “The expected operational tempo for the vessel is to be underway 2,500 hours per year.” Assuming 24 hours days that translates to just over 104 days underway a year (actually it would be more). The unofficial crew was expected to be 22 total, two officers and 20 enlisted (listed below). This has been changed somewhat by the Commandant’s decision to put two newly graduated ensigns on each vessel to increase opportunities for afloat experience.
(add 2 DWO/boarding officers..O-1 noted above)
1 BMC, 2 BM1, 2 BM2, 2 BM3, 1 SN
1 FS1, 1FS3
1 MK1, 1 MK2, 1 MK3
1 EM1, 1 EM3, 1 IT2, 1 DC2, 1 FN
The revised concept would be to get as much underway time out of the boats as possible, both to replace aging 110 foot WPBs and to provide something of a substitute for missing large ship days, with the concept that a FRC and fixed wing combination approximates the capability of a WMEC/helo combination. This would be most likely to work in the Seventh District where the first boats are expected to go. I started with the idea of four crews for three boats but actually went a different way. Operationally the concept would be to have a crewing concept that would allow the option of keeping at least one boat underway at all times (Alpha status), one boat in standby (Bravo status), and one boat in maintenance (Charlie status).
Looking at the current distribution of 110ft WPBs and 179 ft WPCs, there are six locations where the Coast Guard already bases three or more of these types:
Woods Hole, MA (3)
Atlantic Beach, NC (3);
Key West, FL (5)
Miami, FL (6);
San Juan, Puerto Rico (6);
Pascagoula, MS (3)
Clearly there are several places where this concept might be considered. As I understand, it the first boats are going to Miami. There are other places we might also want to consider, but I will return to this later.
For comparison purposes, under the original concept, three boats with a total crew of 72 would be underway 7,500 hours. Under the revised concept, with at least one boat underway at all times, there would be a minimum of 8,760 hours underway and assuming the standby boat got underway for 2500 hours, the total underway time would be 11,260 hours (approx 470 unit-days underway) with about 97 crew members. Assuming the vessels always sailed with 24 on board and assuming 470 days U/W this would result in an average of only about 117 days underway per person. Clearly even more use might be made of the Bravo status boat including non-emergency operations.
Looking at the original proposed crew you will note there are only two non-rates; there are no admin types to provide personnel support (presumably this would come from the parent command). There is little depth of expertise requiring careful selection of personnel for independent duty and resulting in hardships when specific individuals are unavailable.
What I would propose is that instead of reporting to a particular boat or crew, crew members would report to a Patrol Craft Division or PCDiv, that would constitute a pool of talent that would provide logistics and maintenance support as well as rotate personnel through crew positions. Crews would be formed from among division personnel for a period of time, based on the maintenance cycle. The revised concept would allow exploitation of a greater range of experience including more senior supervision, allow more flexibility in assignment of personnel, and provide more opportunities for junior personnel, including non-rates and junior officers, to gain experience on these vessels.
Instead of simply replicating the planned crew four times over, the revised plan would
- Add talents that are not currently planned for the vessels, that would normally have to be provided by the parent command (QMs, YNs, SKs, HS, and FT if appropriate)
- Include more senior personnel to provide supervision and mentoring (Division Commander, Engineering Officer, Supply Officer, and senior ratings)
- Include more junior personnel to broaden training opportunities (O-1, SN/SA/FN/FA), and
- Broaden the billet structure of DCs, GMs, and ITs to include paygrades both senior and junior to E-5 allowing return tours that would help deepen the base of experience.
It might also provide economies in overhead functions like handling funds and classified material and all the little jobs like Combined Federal Campaign, because only one person would have to be assigned and have to learn the function and attend meetings instead of three or four. Personnel evaluations might also be expected to be more accurate because of the greater range of available experience.
A Patrol Craft Division personnel allowance might look like this:
Three Fast Response Cutters
1 O-4 Division Commander
4 O-3 Command qualified
1 O-2/3 Division EO
4 O-2 XOs
8 O-1 DWO/boarding Officers
1 CWO Supply
1 QM E-7
1 QM E-4/5
3 BM E-7/8/9
3 BM E6
12 BM E-4/5
1 FT E-6
2 GM E-4/5/6
2 MK E-7/8/9
8 MK E-4/5/6
1 EM E-7/8/9
5 EM E-4/5/6
3 IT E-4/5/6
1 DC E-7
2 DC E-4/5/6
2 YN E-4/5/6
2 SK E-4/5/6
1 FS E-7
6 FS E-4/5/6
2 HS E-4/5/6
The Division Commander would assign crews to specific cutters for a period of time based on the maintenance cycle–two full crews for the two boats that would rotate between underway (Alpha) and standby (Bravo status), a caretaker crew for the cutter undergoing maintenance (Charlie status), and the remaining personnel would be used for logistics and maintenance support or be in training. The standby cutter could also be used for training new personnel or for additional planned underway commitments. Inclusion of logistics personnel (YN, SK, HM) would allow more direct contact between those supporting and those supported, and encourage greater responsiveness.
During the build out of the class, the proposed organization has the advantage of allowing formation of pre-commissioning crews that have the opportunity to gain extensive operational experience with the type before reporting to the vessel.
If the organization worked for the 7th District and was extended to other areas, the ultimate organization might look like this:
- PCDiv 11, South Portland, ME
- PCDiv 12, Woods Hole, MA
- PCDiv 51, Highlands NJ
- PC Div 52, Atlantic Beach, NC
- PCDiv 71, Miami, FL
- PCDiv 72, Miami, FL
- PCDiv 73, Key West, FL
- PCDiv 74, Key West, FL
- PCDiv 75,San Juan, Puerto Rico
- PCDiv 76, San Juan, Puerto Rico
- PCDiv 81, Pascagoula, MS
- PCDiv 111, SOCAL, San Diego, CA
- PCdiv 112, NORCAL, (San Francisco or Eureka, CA?)
- PCDiv 131, Puget Sound (Port Angeles, WA?)
- PCDiv 141, Honolulu, HI
- PCDiv 142, Apra, Guam
- PCDiv 171, SE Alaska (Ketchikan?)
- PCDiv 172, Kodiak
- PCDiv 173, Aleutians (Dutch Harbor or Adak?)
Total, 19 Divisions, 57 boats.
The overall affect of having more boats underway more of the time is great. I presume the USCG does not have PERSTEMPO limitations?
Very interesting. This takes the pool concept several steps further than how MSC uses crew pools to keep its ships deployed/underway far more than sailors do. One might ask IF the division pool was set up with all E-4s and above could the unrated sailors be dropped or swapped? LCS-2 when I was on her, had no one below E-4. I not quite sure how the Navy uses its LCS class squadrons to fill ships crews?
And there always has to be a duty Ensign – LOL
I still think having a POOL of qualified replacement crewmembers is doable. NOT wholesale crew swapouts, but individual replacement and augmentation when either a crewmember has to get relieved or when ops require more in the crew? That way the command integrity and institutional memory are retained. Taking that one step further would be to have “class qualified” crewmembers who are well trained ashore first, then they are easier to “insert” into an existing crew.
BTW the FRC must have enough berthing for the high side crew conplement
The problem with rotating crews is that no one “owns” the equipment (or problem as the case may be.) In submarine rotations, at least you keep coming back to the same boat. With a concept of four crews rotating between three ships, it is easier to kick the can down the road when something is marginal or not mission critical. This puts much more burden on the maintenance establishment. Back in the ’70s, the Navy command I was attached to (Assault Craft Unit – Two) tried doing something similar with manning of their LCM-8s. The result was that soon all the LCM-8s were essentially useless. The solution for ACU-2 was to add personnel to the crews of the LCUs and then make an LCU OinC responsible for the maintenance of two LCM-8s in addition to his own craft. The problems were brought about by essentially the same situation we face now – cutbacks and attempting to do the same with less. Didn’t Adm. Papp just say something about that? I would contend that it is better to have fewer cutters with full time crews and cut back on the commitments.
That’s part of the reason I have a problem with the “Crew Rotation Concept.”
On the other hand, in this case, the Division CO and his crew are responsible and have ownership of the three cutters. The whole division is only about the size of an MEC crew. It should also be possible to maintain some stability in crew assignments over periods of months. This will help with maintaining accountability. When the individuals rotate off, they can’t simply wash their hands of the cutter, they and the rest of the division are still responsible.
This is conceptually somewhere between the way C-130s are crewed and conventional manning. The airstations have obviously figured out how to make sure their assets are maintained so it is doable.
Crew ownership of a boat is the only way to go. Every boat, no matter what size or who makes it has different handling characteristics and a single crew to operates it, is the only way to make it an effective fighting machine.
I saw this problem of ownership in Vietnam. The SWIFT squadrons would shift crews from boat to boat and the boats suffered. The only reason they maintained operational status was a dedicated repair force, a YR (Repair barge), a huge crane to get them out of the water.
The Coast Guard tried the relief crew concept and it wound up being a one for one replacement. EN1 Painter (KIA 1969) was one such relief and should have never been on the mortar (neither should the XO have been either) when it was double loaded. Weapons like other things require practice as a coordinated crew effort and a new face, or faces, upset the routine.
I am not sure the Coast Guard wants the FRC to be a fighting machine. I had not seen the internal layout before and the limited emergency exit point on the second deck concern me. If someone is not on the mess deck, or in the officers quarters, they may be toast. I would have figured that some sort of scuttle would have been put near the heads. The officer quarters could have similitude scuttles opening onto the main deck. The Vietnam WPBs had the cabin portlights removed and escape scuttles put in and those officers and CPOs had far less distance to get out the door.
There is direct egress from all manned spaces. The FRC is built to comply with the ABS Guide for Building and Classing High Speed Naval Craft, which requires at least two direct egress routes for all manned spaces. Same standards the Navy uses for this type of vessel.
It will be one of the safest vessels we have ever commissioned or operated.
“It will be one of the safest vessels we have ever commissioned or operated.” (2011)
“I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.” (1907)
I think Bill is referring to something along the lines of what happened to the Cheonan (ROKN).
From a Coastie point of view, emergency egress has little to do with the survival potential of the ship, and everything to do with the survival potential of the crew 🙂 Having said that, this Coastie is fine with the egress routes on the FRC. In contrast, I was never fine with the egress of aft berthing on the 110. To me, the FRC is what the 110 should have been.
I think the FRC is above and beyond what the Heritage class (WPB 120) should have been.
The FRC is not a WPB. Only point I’m making is not to compare the FRC to or current or past WPBs. I believe that if we continue to view these as simple 110 replacements we’ll st a bunck of LTs up for failure.
I know one of the changes from the parent craft was to give it more internal subdivision. If you look carefully at an enlarged view of the plan you can find what I believe to be an escape scuttle or hatch from every of the nine compartments.
A big difference between aircraft and ships – mission endurance. The various small craft are similar to aircraft in that you don’t live aboard and all maintenance is done at base. If you are hundreds of miles at sea on a Cutter, do you want to RTB and launch another asset if a system goes down? That takes days. So you have to have all those ETs, EMs, MKs, etc aboard in any case. The more underway time you have on a Cutter, the faster equipment will wear out. Crew rotation just swaps one set of problems with another. Also, rotating crews among fewer platforms means you have FEWER PLATFORMS! Not good when you need to go full bore (wars, disasters, etc.)
It is going to be at least ten years before we get them all anyway. We don’t have to make a final decision right away, we can experiment.
In the case for the FRC they are planning on having more FRC then 110’s at this point. But yes if the reason for Blue and Gold is simple to reduce the fleet I agree bad idea.
And when aircraft have maintenance failures they fall out of the sky. The pool of talent available would allow the ship to always have available the types of expertise they needed to sail with. When the IT2 has a family emergency, he can be replaced on short notice by someone who already knows the boat, the crew, and the systems. In addition they would have senior technicians within the division who are intimately familiar with the type that could be consulted if the technicians on board are stumped.
I certainly was not suggesting that we build fewer platforms or that the pace of building be slowed, but we are likely to have severe ship shortages before they are all delivered because the older vessels are going to be breaking down with increased frequency. Some of those breakdowns are likely to be catastrophic and uneconomical to repair.
We already have something of an ownership problem if the supporting commands are unresponsive because of the limited pool of expertise the CO has to draw on.
If the Coast Guard does run the little legs off these vessels and they have to keep the production line open to replace the oldest and never stop building patrol craft it might be a good thing. Continuing to make three or four boats a year indefinitely allows evolutionary improvement and maintains the expertise in procuring this type of vessel.
IIRC the CG tried the blue/gold crew concept on 82′ WPB’s in the 11th District back in he 1970’s, and it wasn’t a stellar success.
Instead of trying to do things cheaper and cheaper, the Coast Guard needs to decide what it wants to be. If it wants to be regarded as a professional seagoing service, it should act accordingly – build a sufficient number of ships, and staff them appropriately. If it wants to be all things to all people, and continue down the path of becoming nothing more than uniformed bureaucrats, then it should continue down the path it has been on for the better part of the last 10 years, because that is where it is headed.
I believe ADM Papp, to his credit, believes in the first course. Whether he will be able to reverse the CG’s current course remains to be seen.
ADM Papp is trying, but all those checks ADM Allen wrote are really hurting right now. What really needs to be done is a reduction in what we will say we will do based on what we actually can with what we have. Hopefully his statement about doing LESS with LESS will hold firm.
Your statement is spot on throughout. Two thumbs up.
Thought some of you might find this interesting.
It shows closely related Damen designs in use by other agencies. Interestingly, most of these operate with a crew of about twelve.
I used to be a crewman on a Landing Craft Utility (LCU). The wartime complement was 14, the “peacetime” complement was 12 and what we actually had was 8. To quote the POinC, “It’s been REAL and it’s been FUN, but it ain’t been real fun.” We met all our commitments, but thankfully we never had to face a hostile landing while on deployment. Your peacetime manning is what you will have when the stuff hits the fan. Later, if you survive, you might get more people when it doesn’t matter as much. If all you will ever do is customs or fisheries, twelve seems reasonable. Unfortunately, in war, nothing is reasonable.
Here’s my Question, where are they gona get the people to Man the FRC with the current manpower we have in the US Coast Guard. I’d like to know were the staffing of the FRC is going to come from?. Are they gona have to start a Recruiting blitz just to staff the FRC.
Here’s an example of the Royal Australian Navy, where they use multi-crews for their Armidale Class patrol boat. I think if we look at their concept and see if it can be done for the US Coast Guard as well.
Nicky, thanks, that is particularly on point because the Armidale Class is so similar in size, function, and crew to the FPC.
If the Coast Guard considered multi-crewing the FRC, I would hope they would look at the Australian experience.
I think the best way is for the US Coast Guard send a study group to Australia and look at how the Australians Multi-Crew their Armidale Class and maybe seeing about bringing that concept to America. I know the Armidale Class Patrol boat is similar to what were getting and maybe the Australian experience can be applied to the US Coast Guard as well.
Right now I don’t believe there is any intention of multi-crewing the FRCs, although to me that makes more sense than multi-crewing NSCs.
Here’s an example of Multi Crewing from the Royal Australian Navy’s Patrol Division’s, Ardent Division, Ardent 1 out of Cairns Australia.
I think it would give the US Coast Guard some Ideas as to how to Multi Crew on the FRC. Given that the FRC is very similar to the Armidale class patrol boat.
We are not interested in multi-crewing the FRC, nor is there any plan to. If you were actually in the Coast Guard you would comprehend this.
First, I volunteer to lead a crew to AUS to investigate their PC size multicrewing efforts.
2nd, When I took command of POINT SAL we had a crew of 7. Not enough, and I think since then we have determined that not only was 10 the MINIMUM (in minimal crewing) but have added an 11th to many 87′ WPBs. While we could run a WPC with 12 or 14, I think in the long run that would not be sufficient. (oh when I left POINT SAL I had something like 14 assigned, of course that was in the days that E-3 and below weren’t centrally assigned so every time the district asked if a boat needed a new member I answered yes.)
So how the h— did you operate with 14 people on board? Hang extra racks in after steering?
We had 13 on board in Vietnam. The extras were the CO, XO, ET and GM. Sometimes we’d get an extra SN if there was one. They, and FNs, were rare birds.
There were the usual six bunks forward, three in the berthing off the mess deck, four in the cabin. The VN liaison usually slept on the mess deck benches. It worked out okay until we began training the Vietnamese and at one point we had ten Americans and twelve Vietnamese trainees for the four to five day patrols. Then things got a little dicey.
The Vietnamese had no understanding of personal ownership of bunks. I came off watch one morning and found two in my bunk. Because I was tired and a little upset over the home invasion, I unceremoniously ejected both onto the mess deck.
The next day my CO had a discussion with me and told me I had to abide by their culture. I said fine. That same day, I told the English speaking crew member to tell all the VN sailors that the CO’s bunk was fair game as well, plus the American CPOs in the cabin. I believe the point was taken by the CO the next. After all, his bunk was big enough for three.
The whitehat is crafty and cunning at all times.
The Coast Guard has already done something like this in Key West, the SES Division. The SES’ were a transitional vessel just as the 110 WPBs were coming online and 95 WPBs were going away. The Division lasted for about 4 years as I recall. I reported aboard SHEARWATER just when the multicrew concept was abandoned. Whether it was a success or not may be a matter of opinion as the vessels were very capable but ‘were rode hard and put up wet”. The key component in any multicrew concept is getting the down time to fix stuff before it gets too bad.
I think that while multiple-crewing, crew-rotational concepts, or an FRC Division along the lines of your plan continue to look good on paper, they fall short when it comes to the actual implementation of the plan. From my point of view, the general idea behind a PC Division is a valid one, but I fail to see in your plan a structure that can’t be put mostly in place (or isn’t already) simply by stationing the new FRCs at or very near existing Sector commands (FRCs will likely continue to be Sector assets as the WPBs are today). In some cases this is obviously more difficult (namely in Alaska), but the support personnel detailed in your plan are already present at these units, or can be easily augmented if they are not.
An excellent example of this (again, based on my own experiences) is the current structure at Sector San Juan (formerly GANTSEC). With 5 (or 6) WPBs homeported in San Juan, all working for the Sector command, the Sector was also set up to address the needs of those patrol assets. A Maintenance Assist Team Detachment (with a CWO Supervisor) was present to handle engineering issues that lay beyond the ability of the individual cutter crew, or those items that merely required additional bodies. An Electronics Support Detachment (again with a CWO supervisor) was present to handle electronics issues. The Sector also had a reasonably-sized clinic, a SPO (the current name for a bunch of YNs doing YN-type stuff), a large Supply division, and an Armory that were all actively engaged in supporting not only the Sector’s needs, but those of the WPBs and the other units located in the San Juan area. Many sector personnel had also served on or were qualified onboard the WPBs, so if we needed an individual replacement or augmentee, we could usually get one from nearby (the presence of the other ships on the pier also assisted with short-notice replacements that didn’t impact their own schedules). While I can’t say that this was a perfect setup, it is a system that worked, and one that supported what was arguably one of the busiest AORs in the Coast Guard (when I was there, San Juan 110’s were conducting about 2200-2300 OPHOURS annually).
However, and IMHO, I think your specific proposal is in error in two places – one minor and one major:
The minor concern that I have is merely the number of assets that you have assigned to each of the PC Divisions. Three vessels are simply not enough, given the maintenance requirements of today’s ships, to maintain 1.0 coverage (assuming an on-site relief) in a specific AOR. While I would like to believe that new ships will require less maintenance than the 20+ year old WPBs that we are presently operating, most of the maintenance that we perform is based simply on programmed maintenance schedules (PMS cycles) and the adverse effects caused to electronic equipment by being underway in a maritime environment (electronics just don’t like water and salt). Doing some quick math, your proposed PCDiv (3 cutters, each with 5-day endurance, allows me to expect each vessel being capable of performing a 4-day patrol with 1 transit day tacked on each end). A 3-ship rotation (assuming that each ship makes two patrols before entering a Charlie period) gives each ship one 4-day and one 12-day Charlie period (not accounting for stand-down days, weekends, or holidays) per 48-day cycle (and requires each ship to run at least 3700 hours per year), while a 4-ship rotation based on the same assumptions gives each ship a single 15-day Charlie period per 32-day cycle (and requires each ship to run at only 2700 hours per year). Expanding patrol lengths to 5 days for the 4-ship rotation (again with a transit day on each end) results in a single 20-day Charlie period per 40-day cycle (and also requires each ship to run at about 2700 hours per year), so we really don’t gain anything other than an additional 5 Charlie days.
My major concern, in some ways echoing the concerns by other readers of this blog, is not only the lack of ownership that a crew “pooling” concept such as your proposed PCDiv requires, but also the large-scale shift in the Coast Guard’s culture that would be required before we could operate the proposed PCDiv’s 3 (or 4) FRCs/WPBs in roughly the same manner as a small boat station. In your proposal, you indicate that the PCDiv would have a single CO and XO, and then would have available a pool of “command-qualified” (whatever that means) LTs, presumably to act as large-scale coxswains for your ready FRC. At present, the CG doesn’t have a system to “command qualify” its officers – those that successfully screen for command are then either assigned to a CO billet, or they aren’t. While I can’t say that this system won’t work, since it obviously does for small boat stations, I think that the CG as a whole–and the officer corps in specific–would need to reevaluate the entire manner in which we look at promotions (would an O3 CO be better suited for promotion than a “command-qualified” O3 assigned to a PCDiv?) Additionally, the creation of the PCDiv, and “thrown-together” nature of the crews flies in the face of current belief that the cutter crew is a team, and in order to perform in that manner, needs to be together to train. It is true that our current system means that a poorly-timed transfer or leave request for independent duty personnel leave ships in a bit of a bind, but we have, and continue to, adapt to these challenges with little loss of effectiveness overall (and just a bit more work for the XO). While I think that it is admirable to trust that the PCDiv would ensure that all of its members are appropriately trained and educated prior to arrival (or deployment on one of the cutters), I think that the close-knit team performance and overall trust exhibited by [most of] the current WPB and WCPB crews would be diminished.
A bit long-winded, but as a current WPB sailor (and potentially future FRC sailor), it’s an issue that hits close to home.
The San Juan support arrangement was the (near) exact arrangement the WPB Divisions used in Vietnam with near identical manning. Admin including supply, Engineering, Electronics Shop, Armory, Public Affairs with some outreach services. There was also sub-categories of people who walk the various systems of the other services to procure the things not readily available through normal channels.
Also, the analogy of a small boat station was the same I used some years ago when arguing the folks of Squadron One were entitled to the Restricted Duty Ribbon. Those in the division had no official orders to any WPB. They were all assigned to the Division and then assigned or directed to a WPB. There were advantages to this. The Squadron Commander (and he did fly the SquadDog Pennant) had huge flexibility in personnel assignments without the paperwork involved. He could remove anyone for any reason and simply replace him from that support staff pool . He could also make temporary assignments for COs from the qualified XOs on other WPBs. The WPBs had OIC qualified CPOs and they could step into the XO position very easily. Or assign a CWO to the WPB and the division. I understand that a CWO commanded a 110′ in the San Juan area. CWOs were begun in the RCS to help take up some of the slack for the commissioned officers who were too few in number and the congress would not allow more.
Near the end of the Coast Guard’s involvement most of the XOs were removed to make room for the Vietnamese PCO who wasn’t qualified to do anything.
It appears that the Coast Guard is, again, reinventing the wheel or, at least, it need too. It is a shame that no one has looked at the administrative history of the Coast Guard in Vietnam. That was where the war was fought.
E Burley, Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
While I’m sure a sector organization can work, it depends to a much greater extent on the informal organization and the personality and good will of sector personnel. (“I have always relied on the kindness of strangers.”) A more formal organization would clarify lines of authority and responsibility. Lessons learned can be applied to all divisions, and if the Coast Guard ever needs to send a division or two to protect a foreign port, the organization will already be established and well understood.
In envisioning the division, I anticipated that the crews would be stabilized as much as possible with essentially no changes though an operational cycle–hopefully a year, and only minimal changes before starting the next, though temporary augmentation or substitutions throughout the cycle would be possible. I share your concern for maintaining a team. In so far as possible, individuals would work under the same CO and command team for most of their tour, and they would stay with the same boat for at least a period equal to how long it takes for the three vessels to rotate through major availabilities.
Once the command-qualified (or call him command selected) officer takes over a WPC, he will be a WPC CO, not just an officer-in-charge, and can be treated as such, so I don’t see that as a significant cultural change. On the other hand, the same thing will happen if they go ahead with multi-crewing the NSCs.
To clarify the OPTEMPO, I had in mind for three ships and essentially four crews, one ship scheduled underway, one in Bravo status, and one in Charlie: If one ship is scheduled underway all the time, that is 8,760 hours or 2,920 hours per boat and 2,190 per crew. (How much of that is transit can vary considerably.) If we also assumed 2,500 hours unscheduled underway time (which seems high given that a vessel is already underway) for the ships while in Bravo, that is 833 hours per boat and and 625 hours per crew, for a total of 3753 hours per ship and 2815 hours per crew. The vessels would be in port 57% of the time, and the crews would be in port 68% of the time.
The additional personnel assigned to the division–equal to a bit more than a fourth crew–will constitute a substantial maintenance assist team at least doubling the number of people available to do routine maintenance tasks when the unit is in Charlie. Additionally they should feel some degree of ownership because not only is the vessel part of their unit, but also because they may be assigned to the vessel in the future.
How many patrol boat Commands have you had Chuck?
None, but I have had almost eight years afloat. Do you have a point to make? Specific objections or recommendations? The Coast Guard is planning on rotating crews through the NSCs with only the most limited experience in doing this sort of thing. I find that a little scary. I only brought this up so that we could kick around some alternate concepts.
Find it scary all you want, none of us asked you.
As far as any “alternate concepts” you think we would entertain from this place: Don’t call us, we’ll call you.
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For what little it’s worth, QM was disestablished in 2003 (their jobs were taken over by BM’s and OS’s), as was FT (now ET’s). I can’t tell from this post exactly what QM expertise you are looking to include with your hypothetical QMC, since my mental image of them (having joined post-2003) is basically a hybrid between a nav/ops-type BM and an OS, neither of which I have much personal knowledge of.
They do some kind of stuff on the bridge with the treasure maps, right?
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