ascertain the sanitary conditions of certain spaces.
It inspects the ships messing, food service, living,
berthing, and working spaces.
The medical department is also responsible for
the dental care and oral health of the ships
personnel. Normally, if no dental officer is
assigned on board, the medical department simply
maintains the dental records of the crew. In the
event of a dental emergency, the medical depart-
ment provides temporary treatment until the
member can be sent to a dental facility. To ensure
the prevention and control of dental diseases and
maintain dental hygiene within the command, the
medical department schedules periodic dental
examinations for all crew members.
Some larger ships have dental officers and
separate medical and dental departments.
On ships having aircraft, the air department
is responsible for aircraft handling, both on the
flight deck and the hangar deck. The department
is also responsible for aviation fuels and aviation
administration. On aircraft carriers, the air
department also has responsibility for the
catapults and arresting gear. Personnel assigned
to the air department also maintain the aircraft
towing gear and flight deck fire-fighting gear.
If an air wing is attached to the command, it
brings its own technicians and mechanics to
maintain the wings aircraft.
During flight operations, the air department
head, the air boss, controls the operations from
the primary flight control tower (pri-fly).
Much planning coupled with over 200 years
of experience has helped to mold the functional
organization of our Navy. One of the key links
in this organization is the chain of command. We
have described the roles of the commanding
officer; the executive officer; and in chapter 4,
the division officer. We have also described the
functions of the various shipboard departments.
But how do the department heads and division
officers fit into this functional organization?
The head of a department represents the
commanding officer in all matters that pertain to
that department. A department head is responsi-
ble for and reports to the commanding officer the
operational readiness of the department, the
general condition of equipment, and any other
matters relating to the department. The
department head is also responsible for the
administrative matters within the department. The
department head customarily keeps the executive
officer informed about all departmental matters
reported to the commanding officer.
Division officers are responsible to and, in
general, act as assistants to department heads. The
division officer is a major link in the ships chain
of command, particularly aboard a small ship. At
the working level, the division officer carries out
the policies of the command and ensures the
division completes assigned tasks in a timely
The division officer makes frequent inspec-
tions of personnel, spaces, equipment, and
supplies assigned to the division. The division
officer maintains copies of all bills and orders for
the division and posts those that should be posted
in conspicuous places. The division officer has the
responsibility for training personnel in the division
and preparing them for battle. Just as the depart-
ment head reports to the executive officer and the
commanding officer, the division officer reports
to the department head.
Ships personnel must function as a well-
coordinated team. In addition to using the chain
of command, each ship maintains several guides
to help ensure this coordination. These guides
include the Standard Organization and Regula-
tions of the U.S. Navy; a battle organization
manual; and a watch, quarter, and station bill.
These guides detail, for that particular ship, the
assignment and duties of officers and enlisted
personnel. For units under the ship manning
document (SMD) or the squadron manning
document (SQMD), the SMD or SQMD, as
applicable, also serves as a battle organization
manual and battle bill.
For commanding officers to prepare their
ships to fight to the best of their abilities, ships
must have a special organization and system of
communications for battle conditions. These are
set forth in the battle organization manual.
This document contains four chapters describ-
ing the battle organization, conditions of
readiness, battle bill, and interior communications
CONDITIONS OF READINESS
Several different conditions of readiness have
been established for battle or simulated war. The
condition of readiness in effect depends on the