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    Re: Course Changing in the Navy
    From: Joe Schultz
    Date: 2009 Dec 11, 02:46 -0800

    Sometimes I just hate senior chiefs and master chiefs.  One of Master Chief's 
    quotes of the "Watch Officer's Guide" didn't make sense, so I went looking 
    for my copy.  Two hours later (one each of looking and reading) and I'm 
    convinced that my edition (No.12) didn't have the quote that Master Chief 
    cited from his edition.  Arrrr!!
    
    Anyways, I think I can save Master Chief some typing.  From page 13 of my 
    edition: "OPNAVINST 3120.32, when supplemented by amplifying instructions for 
    the particular type and class of ship concerned, constitutes the Standard 
    Ship's Organization and Regulations Manual, familiarly known by its acronym 
    SORM."
    
    OPNAVINST 3120.32C can be found in the 3000 series of:
    
    http://doni.daps.dla.mil/allinstructions.aspx
    
    "When supplemented" is the key phrase here.  Every echelon below the Chief of 
    Naval Operations can and will supplement, including a ship's CO.  The SORM on 
    my tin cans took about four feet of shelf space.  Just the SORM.  You're 
    supposed to know it all, of course, and keep up with all the changes 
    including the ones you don't know about.
    
    The Navy's "Grog Law" can be found in chapter 11 of U.S. Navy Regulations on 
    that web site, by the way.  One of the oldest regulations still in force.
    
    Off to the "track/CPA" question.  I'm going to "brass tacks" the answer, 
    assuming independent steaming in the open sea.  No battle group ops, no sub 
    search boxes, etc., etc.
    
    It's the CO's call, depending on his level of paranoia, and he needs to put 
    that in writing in his standing orders.  Some COs were very paranoid, others 
    weighed the experience and competence of individual OODs.  You don't learn 
    much more than set/drift if you're locked into a course/speed, and you tried 
    - when allowed freedom to maneuver - to be "back on track" by the end of an 
    OOD watch.  It's useful to learn how to make a torpedo-fooling bubble, for 
    example.  Make a JOOD do that for an hour and you may be more than bit off 
    track.  Make him "point the way" without looking at the gyro, after an hour 
    of twisting and turning with nothing on the horizon for a visual reference.  
    Some COs won't allow their OODs to do this, some will.  Some COs won't allow 
    for the fact that somebody under him may be a better shipdriver.  His ship, 
    his call.
    
    Regarding the voice tube incident: the CO wouldn't have called, much less 
    stormed up in a huff, if that bleepin' lid had been closed.  He wasn't that 
    paranoid.  If only he had been briefed ahead of time; he would have buzzed 
    the bridge and "reminded" us to close the lid....  ....oops.
    
    Following is a pretty good example of how these orders are written, from a 
    fictional destroyer CO in his 10 page standing orders (in the appendix of my 
    "Watch Officer's Guide").  This for non-emergency situations.  "Unless 
    otherwise directed, advise the navigator and me of deviations from the DR of 
    more than three miles and, of course, of changes intended to return to the 
    track." And "When a contact that is extraneous to the disposition of which we 
    are part is within five miles or less of the ship, or whose closest point of 
    approach (CPA) will be within five miles of the ship, notify me promptly, 
    giving the following information: ...."  And "Notify me and the navigator of 
    all changes of disposition, course, or speed, except minor changes necessary 
    to maintain station in formation.  Except in the case of patrolling an area 
    or conforming to a signaled zig-zag or sinuous course, course changes of 5deg 
    or more and speed changes of 1 knot or more required to maintain station are 
    NOT minor changes."  Independent steaming, in the Navy, is a disposition of 
    one ship.  You maintain station with yourself.
    
    "Unless otherwise directed" was the fictional CO's way to give a good OOD some 
    leeway.  The Navigator was going to get as little sleep as the CO in these 
    orders, unless "unless otherwise directed" was applied.  Sometimes "unless 
    otherwise directed" was in writing to an individual OOD.  Smart OODs 
    requested it.
    
    We gave the merchies a wide berth when at sea.  Never knew when their radar or 
    autopilot alarms would fail, and the merchie crunches somebody because they 
    "didn't see them."  They didn't carry signs that say "I have an unmanned 
    bridge."
    
    Too bad that former sub officer couldn't adapt to the "real world."  He lost 
    out on a good opportunity, in my opinion.  Free sextant training.
    
    Small boats can be a "cheek squeezing" experience, underway or not.  "Oh look, 
    Henry!  The Navy's here!  Let's go over and say hi!"  Or a bumboat may be a 
    disguised floating bomb.  I live about 15mi from the parents of a victim of a 
    Yemen bumboat.  A bumboat is a floating convenience store, for those who 
    don't know.
    
    And I think you forgot one, regarding pilot overrides: "dead stick" in a 
    harbor when the pilot is controlling an attached tug, when the ship's 
    movement is directed by the harbormaster.  I wouldn't know where to find the 
    civilian rules.
    
    Let me know if this is too much information.
    
    Joe
    
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