A View from the Fleet
By Lieutenant Sidney W. Emery, Jr, U.S. Navy
Civil Service mariners, such as Captain L. O. Nassett, first MSC master of the fleet oiler Taluga, have demonstrated that experienced civilians can operate underway replenishment ships with considerable smaller crews than their Navy counterparts. when the carrier "Ranger" takes a drink from the Taluga she's getting good service, and the Navy is saving money.
From the archives of Capt. Patrick Moloney
Click image for web site
At left, an able seaman applies ornamental covering to a piece of wire on board the USNS Rigle (T-AF-58), the ship shown above. she is the first fry stores replenishment ship taken over by a Civil Service crew. Many of the crewmwn on board the Military Sealift Command ships are retired Navy enlisted personnel.
garb worn by crewmen on board the USNS
Passumpsic (T-AO-107) is
anything but uniform. What's important, though, is getting the job
done-whether it is hooking upa fueling ling, hosing off the anchor
chain, or cutting through oil piping.
| The difference is not
explained simply by the difference between civilian and military crews.
Considering men of equal experience, a civilian - whether union or
non-union - is probably no better or no worse a sailor than a bluejacket. And
yet, this area of civilians and the unions is a source
of much confusion and misconception - frequently noted with diddain -
on the part of many Navy people.
A large number of Military Sealift Command ships, including all of the fleet support vessels, are manned by individuals who are Navy employees - Civil Service mariners. Many, by their own choice, also are members of maritime unions which represent all MSC seagoing employees, those who are union members and those who are not. Among major unions are the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association and Master, Mates and Pilots. Other unions, such as the Seaman's International Union, and National Maritime Union represent unlicensed personnel, radio officers, pursers, and nurses.
While no records are maintained by Military Sealift Command, it is estimated that a substantial number of MSC employees are union members.
Emery graduated top man from the Naval Academy in 1968. Following an
18-month in-country Vietnam tour on board the USS Gallup
(PG-85), he received an M. S. in operations research and a Ph.D. in
industrial engineering from Stanford University in 1974 as a Burke
Scholar. He served as the battery control officer of the guided-missile
Halsey (CG-23) from Janurary 1974 to March 1976. A
frequent contributor to the Proceedings
and other professiona/maritime industry journals, he is now special
assistant for plans on the staff of Commander Military Sealift Command
in Washington. He haas been selected for promotion to lieutenant
Mr. Sidney w. Emery, Jr. is director of Urologix, Inc. since October 2005