Thursday, April 19, 2018

A to Z Challenge - Q is for Quartermaster & Quarterdeck


ARMY - Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairers perform maintenance on chemical equipment, quartermaster machinery, forced air-heaters, and special purpose equipment.

NAVY - Quartermasters stand watch as assistants to officers of the deck and the navigator; serve as helmsman and perform ship control, navigation and bridge watch duties.

COAST GUARD - Quartermasters are navigators who are assigned to all types of cutters. Their duties include all aspects of voyage planning, maintaining nautical charts and publications and the proper use and care of navigation equipment.

QUARTERDECK - a raised deck behind the main mast of a sailing ship. Traditionally, where the captain commanded his vessel and where the ship's colors were kept.

Different types of decks:

1. Poop Deck: located on the vessel’s stern, used by the vessel’s commanding superiors to observe the work and navigational proceedings.

2. Main Deck: the primary deck in any vessel. Not the topmost deck, which is called the weather deck. On sailing warships, it is usually the deck below the upper deck.

3. Upper Deck: the topmost deck on a ship, the largest deck amongst all other decks.

4. Lower Deck: located below the primary or main deck, generally comprises more than one deck, next to the lowest or orlop deck.

5. Promenade Deck: a place for the voyagers to take a walk on the ship, enjoying the beauty of the ocean. Generally the area around the superstructure, with either open railings or enclosed in glass.

6. Tween Deck:  an empty space separating or between (tween) two other decks in the hull of a vessel.

7. Flush Deck: extends from the front part of the ship to the aft. On such decks, there is no raised forecastle or lowered quarterdeck.

8. Weather Deck: a deck that is not roofed, open to the weather conditions of the sea, the upper most deck on the ship which is exposed to the environment.

9. Bridge Deck: the deck on which the navigational equipment of the ship is housed. The skipper and commanding officers generally are positioned on this deck during the voyage.

10. Quarter Deck: located near to the chief mast of a vessel on its stern. It is a part of the upper deck and includes the poop deck. Generally accessible only to the most senior naval officers on the vessel. When in port, all the activities of the ships are controlled from the quarter deck.

What's next for R?
R is for Reserves.  How do you join the Reserves?  What are the requirements?  What do they do?  Which branches of the military have them?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A to Z Challenge - P is for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

A Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move is a move from one duty station to another, or from your final duty station to home of record upon retirement or discharge.

In the military, you can be required to move at any time, but it is most common to move every 2-3 years.

If you receive PCS orders, you are eligible for transportation allowances. The most common reimbursed travel allowances include:

Personal & dependent travel - The government will provide you and your dependents transportation from one duty station to another. They will either issue you a ticket for a common carrier (air, rail, etc.), or provide you money to travel via your privately owned vehicle (POV) [yes, it appears there is a military acronym for almost everything]. They will also pay you per diem, which includes an allowance for meals and lodging for the number of authorized travel days between locations.

Household goods and vehicle shipment - You are authorized to ship your personal belongings from one duty station to another. The government authorizes you a weight limit based on your rank and family status. You may also be authorized to ship or store your personal vehicle depending on your destination.

Dislocation allowance - Dislocation allowance will partially reimburse you for expenses incurred in relocation.

Temporary lodging reimbursement - The government will partially reimburse you for the additional costs you may incur when house hunting or living in temporary quarters in conjunction with a move through either Temporary Lodging Allowance or Temporary Lodging Expense.

I looked up for my son when he moved from his final duty station to his new home in Seattle.

My son left the Navy with the rank of E-5.  He was single with no dependents.  The military would pay to transport 7000 pounds of household goods, not including his POV.  If he had dependents, it would be 9000 pounds.  If he went over that weight, he would have been responsible to pay for each extra pound.  The cost depends on the distance traveled, from $1 per pound for short distances, to $4 and more per pound for longer distances and/or overseas.  Best to have a yard sale!

Currently in the news is the decision by United Airlines to discontinue overseas transportation of large pets.  United is the only airline from Guam to the US, so servicemembers PCSing from Guam would have had to leave their pets behind.  Here's the latest news:

For more information:

What's next for Q?
Q is for Quartermaster.  What's a Quartermaster?  What do they do?  Which branches of the military have them?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A to Z Challenge - O is for Officer

Officers are the managers and CEOs of the military.

Commissioned officers generally enter the Military with a four-year [or higher] college degree, or receive officer training following enlisted service. Officers are generally employed in management roles or highly specialized fields that require professional degrees [for example: doctors, lawyers, and chaplains]. An officer’s education often determines which career he or she will have in the Military. In most cases, the candidate will meet with a military advisor or career counselor during college to select a potential job specialty.

An individual interested in serving as an officer has four options: (1) attend a military college or academy, (2) enroll at a traditional college or university with a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, (3) attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) after graduating from college, or (4) receive a direct commission after earning a professional degree.

Warrant Officers are the technical experts in the Army. They have specific technical or tactical specialties [for example:  helicopter pilots], and manage and maintain many of the Army’s combat systems, vehicles and networks. Once they reach the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Two (CW2), the President of the United States gives them the same status as a Commissioned Officer.
Navy officer insignia
all branch officer insignia
Army insignia

For more information:

What's next for P?
P is for Permanent Change of Station (PCS).  What's PCS?  How often does the military do it?  What does it entail?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Monday, April 16, 2018

A to Z Challenge - N is for National Guard

The National Guard is a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, composed of members and units from each state, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands.  The National Guard can be be deployed or mobilized for federal and domestic missions.

There are approximately 350,000 guardsmen currently serving.

The National Guard has responded to regional crises in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq. The Guard also expanded its scope of operations with peacekeeping rotations in the Sinai and the Balkans.

In the largest and swiftest response to a domestic disaster in history, the Guard deployed more than 50,000 troops in support of the Gulf States following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The National Guard continues its historic dual mission, protecting life and property in the states, territories, and the District of Columbia, and also ready to defend the United States and its interests all over the globe.

Those serving in the Army or Air National Guard devote many weekends in training for our country's military.  And when National guard servicemembers deploy, they are converted to the standard active duty pay scale.

For more information:

What's next for O?
O is for Officers.  How is an officer different from an enlisted position?  How do you qualify to be an officer?  Would you qualify?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April - Week 16 - Tennessee - the Volunteer State

16 Tennessee
Date admitted to the US – June 1, 1796
Postal abbreviation – TN
Capital – Nashville
Area – 42,143.27 [36th largest in the US]
Population as of census 2010 – 6,346,105 [17th largest in the US]
Population density per square mile – 153.9 [20th largest in the US]
Area codes – 423, 615, 731, 865, 901, 931
Zip codes – 37010 - 38589
Number of counties –95
State nickname –  Volunteer State
State motto – “Agriculture and Commerce " 

State Flag of Tennessee
Fun facts
-Tennessee was nicknamed The Volunteer State during the War of 1812 when volunteer soldiers from Tennessee displayed marked valor in the Battle of New Orleans.
-The largest earthquakes in American history east of the Rocky Mountains, the three New Madrid Earthquakes, magnitude 7.5, occurred in the winter of 1811-12 in northwestern Tennessee. Reelfoot Lake was formed during these earthquakes.
-Nashville's Grand Ole Opry is the longest continuously running live radio program in the world, broadcasting every Friday and Saturday night since 1925.
-Tennessee has more than 3,800 documented caves.
-The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the US.
-Elvis Presley's home, Graceland, the second most visited house in the country, is located in Memphis.
-Tennessee was the last state to secede from the Union during the Civil War and the first state to be readmitted after the war.
-The capitol building was designed by architect William Strickland, who died during its construction and is buried within its walls.
-Tennessee ties with Missouri as the most neighborly state, bordered by 8 states.
-Cumberland University, located in Lebanon, lost a football game to Georgia Tech on October 7, 1916 by a score of 222 to 0. The Georgia Tech coach was George Heisman, for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.

Law Schools
-Nashville School of Law 
-Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law 
-University of Memphis, Cecil C Humphreys School of Law 
-University of Tennessee College of Law 
-Vanderbilt University Law School 

Military facts
Military Bases

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A to Z Challenge - M is for Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)

A Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) is where applicants for military service go to complete the enlistment process. There are 65 MEPS in the United States and Puerto Rico. Applicants who must travel a distance will receive free lodging at a nearby hotel. Meals and transportation are also provided at no cost.

Nicknamed “Freedom’s Front Door,” MEPS are staffed with military and civilian professionals who carefully screen each applicant to ensure he or she meets the physical, academic, and moral standards set by each Service.

Each applicant goes through the following steps:

-Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) testing
-Career Counseling
-Physical Exam
-Background Screening
-Oath of Enlistment

Following the Oath, an applicant is now a full member of the US Military. At this point, he or she may ship directly to Basic Training for his or her branch, or enroll in the Delayed Entry (or Enlistment) Program (DEP) and undergo training at a future time. It can be a long day, and a lot happens quickly, but applicants are briefed at every step by MEPS staff, and there is always help available should questions arise.

Joining the military requires two (or more) trips to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). At a very minimum, you make a trip to MEPS for initial processing, then the second trip to MEPS for final processing on the day you ship out to basic training.

If you do not live in the same local area where your MEPS is located, you first complete the ASVAB and then you're taken to a contract hotel. Hotel accommodations vary from location to location. Some are motel accommodations (discount, Motel-6 type) and others are outstanding (4-star rating). Generally, you are assigned a roommate. The lodging and meals are paid for by MEPS. You pay only for extras, such as telephone calls, in-room movies, in-room Internet access, etc. (if available).

Your wake-up call the next morning comes very early (usually about 0445). You have very little time to dress, eat, and be at the designated location for the shuttle back to MEPS. The entire morning of the first full day is usually scheduled for a medical examination.

My son went three times.  His recruiter picked him up each time and drove him to San Diego, and he stayed at a very nice hotel (with a gym!). 

First visit

Second visit

More information:

What's next for N?
N is for National Guard.  What is the National Guard?  What do they do?  Are they "real" military?  Come back Monday and find out!

Friday, April 13, 2018

A to Z Challenge - L is for Life Aboard a Navy Ship

The larger ships (such as aircraft carriers) are small cities, with more than 5,000 sailors aboard.  There are cooks; medical personnel; communication and computer specialists; finance, administrative, and law clerks; and pretty much every single Navy job.

Some ratings (jobs) spend more time deployed at sea than others. For example, aircrew and aircraft maintenance, sonar technicians, boatswain mates, and more.

Most Sailors are assigned to ships or submarines for three year periods, followed by three years of shore duty. That does not mean they will be deployed to sea for the entire three years they are assigned to a ship or submarine. The ships and subs also spend a significant amount of time docked at their home port for regular maintenance for both machine and crew.

Most ships deploy to sea duty for 6-9 months at a time. Then they return to their home port for 4-5 months (during which time there will be several 1-2 week training cruises).  Because of the nature of the work, the living conditions, and the limited space for onboard supplies, submarines typically have shorter deployments (typically 3-6 months).  One great thing about coming back home to port is you will always be near the beach!

Not that long ago, all junior enlisted unmarried sailors who were assigned to a ship lived on the ship even when that ship was in home port for months at a time.

That meant that a junior enlisted unmarried sailor would have a locker and a rack (bed) of a few dozen square feet to himself, and not much else.

And in most cases, sailors had to share their quarters (not their rack!) with a roommate.

More recently, the Navy built junior enlisted barracks on many of its bases, reducing the number of junior sailors who live aboard ships.

Meals are eaten on the mess deck – an area shared by Sailors on board that also doubles as a place to relax outside of meal hours.  During "off" hours when you're not on watch or doing your other job responsibilities, you have free time to work out, watch movies, study for qualifications, take online classes, and other pursuits.

Blogs and videos:

What's next for M?
M is for Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).  What is MEPS?  Why do you go there?  What do you do there?  Which branch of the military uses it?  Come back tomorrow and find out!