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Not Your Average 9 to 5

Sub Lieutenant Jeremie FraserBy Sub Lieutenant Jeremie Fraser
Canadian exchange officer onboard USS San Diego (LPD 22)

It usually takes three or four days before you see the beginning of fatigue in the eyes of everyone. However, it always ends by noticing the signs of tiredness related to additional duties and responsibilities once ships are underway at sea.

On American ships, as in the Royal Canadian Navy, a “watch” system is established in addition to the normal working day, so it is not uncommon for an officer to be on watch from 3 to 6 a.m. before starting a normal workday. What’s impressive is to see good humor prevail despite the general fatigue.

Operating a warship is a team effort and the crew of USS San Diego perform incredibly. Crew members are passionate about their work and aren’t hesitant to talk about it.

The ship’s population is diverse. There are tan-coloured marine uniforms alongside the blue uniforms of the Sailors. According to the books on military history I’ve read in the ship library, the Marines have always been an impressive fighting force. As they are specialized in amphibious operations, most of them do not have essential duties on board the ship. Some Sailors and Marines themselves go so far as to insinuate — half serious, half joking — that Marines may have a little too much free time on board. However, you cannot say they are undisciplined: the gyms in the ship are always full. They are also the raison d’être of the USS San Diego.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 15, 2016) Two Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs) assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 pass each other while transporting U.S. Marines and their equipment from amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 15, 2016) Two Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs) assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 pass each other while transporting U.S. Marines and their equipment from amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

 

I recently had the opportunity to go for a ride in a hovercraft (Landing Craft, Air Cushion) – an impressive machine. I was told the effect of the surf on the LCAC tends to upset those who are prone to seasickness. The person sitting next to me was equipped with a big transparent plastic bag for that purpose. So, I kindly offered to hold the bag for her in case her stomach decided to clear itself. Ultimately, no one got sick. I have yet to hit a sea strong enough to take away my taste for sailing. My colleagues and I continue to adapt to life onboard USS San Diego. The opportunity to sail with a US ship has been an amazing opportunity that I will never forget.

Editor’s note: For more information on RIMPAC 2016, visit the following links:

Be a part of the conversation on social media using #RIMPAC and #PacificPartners.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/28/not-your-average-9-to-5/ U.S. Navy

My Rim of the Pacific Experience Sailing with USS San Diego

By Acting Sub-Lieutenant Jérémie Fraser,
Canadian exchange officer sailing onboard USS San Diego (LPD 22) for RIMPAC 2016

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Jérémie Fraser, Canadian exchange officer sailing onboard USS San Diego (LPD 22) for RIMPAC 2016. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Jérémie Fraser, Canadian exchange officer sailing onboard USS San Diego (LPD 22) for RIMPAC 2016. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

After spending a dozen days on the beautiful island of Oahu, I am now observing the immense preparations required for the departure of the ship. USS San Diego (LPD 22) is now full of U.S. Marines and their equipment, ready to begin exercise Rim of the Pacific. I am looking forward to seeing how the Marines work and perhaps I may even participate in some of their training.

The last few days have been full of different social activities, with the objective of meeting fellow sailors and officers from navies from around the world. HMCS Calgary (FFH 335) and HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) hosted an excellent reception to celebrate Canada Day. Everyone I have met has had only positive things to say about Canadian hospitality.

It is important to recognize our American hosts as well. My colleagues and I have been very well-received by the crew of the San Diego. They include us in most activities, of which they are quite rewarding and exciting.

PEARL HARBOR (June 28, 2016) Sailors man the rails on the flight deck as amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to make preparations for Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

PEARL HARBOR (June 28, 2016) Sailors man the rails on the flight deck as amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to make preparations for Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

 

My primary objective of this exchange is to gain experience. I will begin my training to be a maritime surface and sub-surface officer soon upon my return to Canada. As such, I have ample opportunity to review the basic naval knowledge, such as the Rules of the Road, flags and more. Time spent on the bridge of the San Diego has also given me the opportunity to learn about the different systems used to navigate a warship. I hope I will not be totally lost when I begin my training!

The training for surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy, the equivalent of our maritime surface and sub-surface officer, is different compared to how it is done in the Royal Canadian Navy. Canadians undertake an intensive, year-long course before becoming an officer of the watch, while Americans have a more on-the-job approach. This unique environment onboard a U.S. warship is very advantageous for a young junior officer in my position.

Editor’s notes: For more information on RIMPAC 2016, visit the following links:

Be a part of the conversation on social media using #RIMPAC and #PacificPartners.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/14/my-rim-of-the-pacific-experience-sailing-with-uss-san-diego/ U.S. Navy