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    Re: Celestial navigation in education
    From: Byron Franklin
    Date: 2010 Apr 29, 11:32 -0700

    • After consideration I feel that the Navy did not make the mistake in their elimination of celestial navigation courses at their schools. Celestial navigation was taught to officers who rarely did any work in celestial navigation. This does not mean that celestial navigation will not be used on board Navy ships. On most ships it is the quartermaster that does the actual celestial navigation. In my experience quartermasters do not go to school for celestial navigation, they learn themselves because of long periods of time at sea and the and the desire to learn what they considered their job. I myself never attended a celestial navigation school, but being on a ship bridge for many years made me read the books and learn from other quartermasters. The officers who were taught celestial navigation at schools rarely had the time because of other duties to practice what they were taught. The quartermaster to make chief may spend 16 years on the bridge of various ships, the officer stands OODs watches (part time) for a few years on the bridge, and has many other duties underway, below deck and in port. Underway the OOD has many responsibilities with ship handling/control, maneuvering in tight ship formation, he is also responsible for Navigation while on watch, but has little time to do the navigation task. No-matter how smart the OOD is, few could compete with the quartermaster that has been on the bridge continuously for many years. I think that the navy understands that. I think the quartermaster (who did not go to school for celestial navigation) will continue to learn on his own. There always will be one or more QM’s that will be able to do the navigation if necessary. The Navy still requires the sextant and pubs on board. The Navy has tried to make the QM and other rates combine time and time again, but it never happens. I think because the Captains, will want a full time experienced man he can trust on the bridge to watch over everything all the time.
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