My name is David Glaser and I’m a brand new ensign, fresh out of Officer Candidate School (OCS), and headed to Basic Division Officer Course (BDOC). (Cue to rest of the group- “Hi David”).With the recent changes to the Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) pipeline, I spent two months at the commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters, until the next BDOC class was ready to kick-off. I was asked by the staff to create a few blog posts before, during and after BDOC to quell perceptions, enlighten future SWO candidates headed to BDOC on rumors vs. reality, and update fleet SWOs on what the BDOC curriculum offers now.
In my BDOC preparations, I spent time talking with the current BDOC students and current SWOs. They overwhelming said that for many new SWOs the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Rules of the Road (ROR) is the biggest learning curve to overcome. Knowing this and knowing I prefer reading from hard copies, I bought the USCG Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook. I also found that there are resources on the USCG website, such as PDFs, practice tests and other resources. As well, there’s an E-DIVO app that has practice tests.
While I am preparing for ROR, I am also excited for the hands-on learning, particularly the Conning Officer Virtual Environment (COVE) simulator. Since OCS has a COVE, we were able to get a few simulator lessons, which I found incredibly valuable as both a visual learner and future SWO. The COVE allows students to simulate being a conning officer, as well as create various navigation challenges – from man overboard to advoiding mines. I am excited to see the full capabilities of the COVE at BDOC!
Through my years of study, I’ve read stories of sailors fighting the ship; using their training to save themselves, their ship, and their shipmates. For this reason, I have an appreciation for the Damage Control (DC) training I received at OCS and think the DC training I will receive at BDOC will be invaluable to my future shipboard tour. I believe in practical training and the muscle memory that develops from it. I hope BDOC gives me a chance to experience multiple reps at the fire and wet trainers.
I’m eager to learn and get on the path toward becoming a Surface Warfare Officer. BDOC allows me, the student, to focus my own professional development without all the daily distractors of ship life. I’ll be back in a month or so to give the SITREP on what I’ve learned up to that point. Until next time.