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Performing Collateral Duties
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Useful Information for Newly Commissioned Officers
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Protocol
compromised publication is a serious matter; a letter of censure or court-martial could result. Signed   property. If   you   sign   for   a   pistol, binoculars, or other government property, be sure the property is securely stowed when not in use. Safety   precautions. Shipboard   life   is inherently   dangerous. You   should   never   permit yourself   or   your   personnel   to   use   shortcuts   that violate   safety   requirements. In   addition   to   your own safety, you are responsible for the people who work  for  you.     Learning  safety  requirements  and shipboard safety regulations should be among your first accomplishments.    Your ship or station safety officer can provide guidance on safety regulations. Navy  Occupational  Safety  and  Health  (NAVOSH) Program  Manual  for  Forces  Afloat,  OPNAVINST 5100.19,   Navy   Occupational   Safety   and   Health ( N AVO S H )    P ro g r a m    M a n u a l ,    O P N AV I N S T 5100.23, and Naval Safety Supervisor, NAVEDTRA 10808-2,  are  good  references,  among  others,  for you to review. Custody of funds.   If assigned a job involving custody  of  funds,  such  as  wardroom  mess  treasurer, be careful.   When you take over, do not be in a hurry. Make a thorough check to ensure you get everything you sign for.  Be thorough and firm.  Refuse to relieve until  you  are  satisfied  everything  is  in  order.    Once you relieve, you are responsible. Auditing.   If you are a member of an auditing board, be sure what you certify as present is actually present. Members   of   auditing   boards   have   been severely  censured  for  carelessness  in  making  audits and taking inventories.    The mere fact that someone else  signs  the  audit  or  inventory  does  not  mean  you can  sign  blindly  and  assume  the  audit  is  accurate. Usually the junior signs first, at the bottom. Listed  below  are  three  duty  areas  you  may  be assigned in addition to your normal duties: 1.   Executive   assistants. Duties   in   this   area include assignments   such   as   training   officer, educational   services   officer   (ESO),   public   affairs officer, and legal officer. 2.   Boards   and   committees. You   may   find yourself on several different boards and committees. Some   examples   are   Mess   Audit   Board,   Nuclear Weapons   Safety   Council,   Welfare   and   Recreation Committee, and Enlisted Examining Board. 3.   Collateral   duties. You   may   be   assigned collateral   duties   such   as   library   officer,   athletic officer,   shore   patrol   officer,   and   naval   warfare publications library custodian. CARRYING OUT LEADERSHIP DUTIES Your most important duty as a junior officer is the leadership of your personnel.   Base your relationship with   them   on   a   thorough   knowledge   of   their characters,   abilities,   and   personal   lives;   but   never become too informal. As   you   study   the   organization   of   your   duty station, learn to fit individuals into its structure.  After gaining  a  working  knowledge  of  the  people  in  your division,  talk  to  other  division  officers  to  discover their key personnel.   Being able to draw on such key personnel will be of great value to you. The chief petty officers in your division are most important   to   you. They   know   their   jobs   and   the capabilities of the people under them.   Work through your chiefs.    Maintain the chain of command.    Your chief petty officers realize you probably do not know all   the   technical   details. They   also   realize   you probably   know   more   theory   than   they. A  mutual exchange of practical knowledge from the chief and theory  from  the  officer  often  result  in  a  smoother operation.   Do not assume the attitude that you know all the answers.  You will always find one you will not know. Do not lend money to, or have financial dealings with,   enlisted   personnel. Article   1111,   U.S.   Navy Regulations, 1990, is quite definite on this subject.   If any of your personnel ask you for a loan, decline and inform   them   that   Navy   regulations   prohibit   your doing so.    If the case is really deserving, the person should have no difficulty in obtaining a loan from the ship’s welfare and recreation fund, the Red Cross, or the  Navy  and  Marine  Corps  Relief  Society.     Refer anyone  in  such  circumstances  to  the  proper  people. Help  run  interference,  and  follow  up  to  ensure  they receive proper assistance. Do your division business in the division.  Do not permit enlisted personnel to hang around your room or in “officer’s country.”  That sounds stuffy, but it is a sound and long-established custom.   Maintain proper relations with your personnel at all times.  Sometimes minor   matters   set   off   a   long   chain   of   events   of increasing seriousness. 3-7

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