Mesa Verde Qualifies First Enlisted Woman As Engineering Officer Of The WatchShare
Today at 10:35am
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steve Smith Amphibious Squadron Eight (CPR-8) Public Affairs Office
USS MESA VERDE, At Sea (June 12, 2010) - Main Propulsion Assistant Chief Warrant Officer Homer Vogle discusses operations with Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW) Engineman 1st Class Isa Grace, from Andalusia, Ala., aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19). Grace is the first enlisted woman to qualify as EOOW aboard Mesa Verde and monitors propulsion, auxiliary, and other vital systems that keep the ship operational. Mesa Verde is part of the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group supporting Maritime Security Operations and Theater Security Cooperation operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steve Smith/Released) The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock is on its maiden deployment and has operated a safe and reliable engineering plant since leaving Norfolk, Va. homeport Jan. 18. Mesa Verde's engineering department has steamed more than 30,000 miles on this deployment.
The EOOW works together with the Officer of the Deck (OOD) in order to control the ship's propulsion, auxiliary and other systems.
"I arrived aboard in November 2007, and after completing various watch and operator qualifications, I began the EOOW qualification process this year," said Grace. "I started in February and about three months later I worked through the qualification process. EOOW is a very challenging qualification.
Most of it goes hand-in-hand with the experience gained from standing the prerequisite watches and knowing every system."
Grace said being an enlisted female Sailor never crossed her mind when preparing to take the position.
"I think women, or any Sailor for that matter, can be confident they can earn the qualification with their experience and knowledge of the work spaces," she said.
"The EOOW qualification is truly about maturity and sound decision making; it's not about rank. The EOOW needs to be able to make decisions," said Chief Warrant Officer Homer Vogle, the ship's main propulsion assistant.
"The EOOW needs to handle the watch without guidance. If something doesn't sound right, you must have the knowledge to find the problem and make it right."
EOOW is typically a position held by commissioned officers or chief petty officers, and the commanding officer is the last qualifier who makes the final decision during a verbal examination process.
"Since the commanding officer is ultimately the one who is going to allow someone to become an EOOW, you must earn his confidence and trust," said Chief Engineer Lt. Cmdr. Gary Joy.
"Sailors must prove they are capable and willing to handle not only the propulsion plants and systems, but to take on the leadership responsibilities necessary to be an EOOW," said Master Chief Engineman Gilbert Hatcher. "Of those Sailors in Petty Officer Grace's peer group, she is ready to supervise and manage the new plant and systems of this size."
The Nassau Amphibious Ready Group (NAS ARG) / 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit
(MEU) is currently supporting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) Operations in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
NAS ARG is comprised of ships from Amphibious Squadron Eight (PHIBRON 8) including the Tarawa-class multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and the Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48). Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24 MEU) complete the group.