FIRST DUTY ADVICE
This chapter covers a wide range of topics
designed to help you on your first tour of duty. We
cannot anticipate all the problems a newly
commissioned officer might encounter, so we will
concentrate on the more common ones.
Should you write to your new ship or station
before reporting? Yes, that shows an interest in your
first duty assignment.
Write your letter of
introduction to the executive officer well in advance
of your reporting date. A standard business letter,
preferably typed, is appropriate. You can find the
correct format to use in preparing a business letter in
the Navy Correspondence Manual, SECNAVINST
5216.5. The letter should include your anticipated
reporting date and your address while on leave. If
married, you may include the name of your spouse,
number of children, and the date you expect to arrive
in the area.
You may also want to mention any
qualifications you have that might influence your
FINDING YOUR SHIP
Your orders will give the name of the ship or
station to which you are to report and the date by
which you are to report. Finding your ship or station
may present complications. Your personnel office
will make every effort to give you the location of your
ship on the day you are due to report, but such
information can change very rapidly.
Your new duty station is your best source of
current information. As mentioned above, write a
short letter to your executive officer (XO) concerning
your reporting date, schools you are attending, and
any pertinent personal information. Your XO will, in
turn, provide you with information concerning the
ship and its movement. A sponsor assigned by your
new command will, if you desire, furnish additional
information pertinent to your personal needs.
Many naval activities are at inconvenient
locations, and their titles are sometimes deceptive.
For instance, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard is not in
Norfolk but in Portsmouth, Virginia; the Portsmouth
Naval Shipyard is near Portsmouth, New Hampshire,
but is on an island connected by a bridge from Kittery,
Maine; the Naval Submarine Base, New London, is in
Groton, Connecticut. A map of the area will help you
locate your activity. You can run up quite a taxi bill if
you dont know exactly where you want to go.
While you may know your ship will be in the
Norfolk area at the time you are due to report, its exact
berth may be difficult to locate. It could be in the
Norfolk Naval Shipyard (which is in Portsmouth), it
could be at the naval station (Norfolk), or it might be
at anchor, to mention only a few possibilities. When
you arrive in the area, check your ships location by
calling ships information at the main activity or ask
the shore patrol at the Navy Landing. You can usually
find a boat schedule of your ship in the shore patrol
office or posted at the Navy landing. At some ports,
civilian water taxis make runs to ships at anchor and
will take you to your ship for a small fee.
SHIPS STATIONED IN THE
CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES
When reporting to the home port of a ship in the
continental United States (CONUS), you may
discover your ship is out for local operations and
nobody knows when it will return. Now what do you
do? The best thing to do is find out which squadron or
division your ship is in and report to its office.
Ordinarily, a ships division or squadron office is
somewhere near the docks and is manned by a staff
even if the ship is at sea. If your ship has no squadron
or division office, check with the personnel office of
the nearest naval command. Ask the personnel office
to help you determine the command to which you
should report pending the arrival of your ship. Ask
that command to endorse your orders stating the date
and time you reported.
SHIPS STATIONED IN EUROPE
Many European nations require a visa or passport
for travel into their territory.
PERSCOMINST 4650.2 for general information on
the subject of passports.
NATO member nations