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    Re: U.S. Naval Academy Reinstates Celestial
    From: Lu Abel
    Date: 2016 Jan 26, 20:20 +0000
    I think there may be a significant misunderstanding here.  While a ship typically does have a officer in charge of navigation, he/she is usually someone of fairly junior rank  who is charged with overseeing the ship's navigation.  Actual navigation is performed by enlisted personnel holding the rating of Quartermaster. 

    While I do not have knowledge of any training in celestial that QMs receive, I would be far more worried about whether they have a strong knowledge of celestial than the navigation officer.  They will be the one standing out on the wings and taking the actual shots (and reducing them afterwards)!

    Here's a snippet from Wikipedia's entry on USN QMs:

    "The [US Navy] quartermaster is the enlisted member in charge of the watch-to-watch navigation and the maintenance, correction, and preparation of nautical charts and navigation publications. He or she is also responsible for navigational instruments and clocks and the training of ship's lookouts and helmsmen. He or she performs these duties under the control of the ship's navigator or other officer if there was no officer navigator. In the modern navy, a quartermaster is a petty officer who specializes in navigation. The rating abbreviation is QM."

    In addition, USNA graduates account for fewer than twenty percent of newly commissioned Navy officers.   The rest come from various sources, principally Officer Candidate School (OCS) and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). 

    Navy OCS is a program to quickly commission candidate personnel as officers; I doubt this 12 week long program incorporates classes in celestial (although other, arguably more relevant, areas of navigation are taught).

    ROTC is a four-year program taught at civilian colleges.  I have queried several college classmates who went through NROTC decades ago; they were not taught celestial. 

    So I (personally, your mileage may differ) conclude that while teaching USNA cadets the basics of celestial is nice, it is definitely not going to be the cure-all that some here have posited should there be an act of war that somehow shuts down ships'  positioning capabilities that do not rely on celestial nav.


       
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