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Introducing and Addressing Naval Personnel - 12967_57
Useful Information for Newly Commissioned Officers
Suggestions for Junior Officers
The place of honor is to the right.  Accordingly, take a position to the left side when walking, riding, or sitting  with  a  senior.     When  aboard  ship,  take  an inboard  position  to  a  senior.     The  custom  of  the “right-hand  rule”  is  quaintly  expressed  by  George Washington in his 30th Rule of Civility:  “In walking, the highest place in most countries seems to be on the right hand; therefore, place yourself on the left of him who you desire to honor.” When   entering   an   automobile   or   a   boat, officers do so in inverse order of grade.  For example, a lieutenant and a captain getting into an automobile enter in that order, with the lieutenant taking the seat on the far side.   When getting out, the captain leaves first.    In  entering  buildings  or  rooms,  however,  the junior opens doors for the senior and enters last. At parties, try not to leave before the captain. If  you  must  leave,  pay  your  respects  to  the  captain before leaving. Avoid  keeping  a  senior  waiting.     Normal courtesy  aside,  punctuality  is  essential  in  the  naval service.  When called by a senior, you should respond immediately. In  replying  to  questions  from  a  senior,  avoid embarrassment  by  giving  complete  and  explicit answers. If   you   cannot   supply   the   desired information,  give  a  response  such  as  “I  do  not know . . . , but I will find out and let you know.”  That is  much  better  than  an  indirect  answer  that  conveys misinformation on which a senior may be basing an important decision.   Admitting you do not know the answer   is   more   prudent   than   giving   evasive statements  that  may  seriously  affect  your  reputation and confuse the issue. When  ordered  to  do  an  assigned  task,  report back  promptly  to  the  senior  (1)  that  you  have completed the task or (2) what you have done toward completing the task. When  a  senior  gives  you  an  order,  make  sure you  understand  what  the  senior  expects  of  you  and when it should be completed.   Do not hesitate to ask questions to clarify these points.  Once they are clear, however, do not ask how to do the job.  Study the task; if you need advice, turn to a fellow officer.   Ask the advice  of  the  person  who  gives  you  an  order  only when you have no other alternative.  Try to anticipate the wishes of your senior whenever possible. Only   one   response   to   an   oral   order   is proper—“Aye,  aye,  sir/ma’am.”    This  reply  means more than “yes.”  It means that “I understand and will obey.”     Responses  to  an  order  such  as  “all  right, sir/ma’am”   and   “O.K.,   sir/ma’am”   are   improper. “Very  well”  is  proper  when  spoken  by  a  senior  in acknowledgement of a report made by a junior. Never  jump  the  chain  of  command.    In  other words,  do  not  consult  anyone  higher  in  the  chain  of command than your immediate superior, unless your superior gives you the authority to do so. RELATIONS BETWEEN OFFICERS AND ENLISTED PERSONNEL By  virtue  of  your  commission,  you  will  be  in charge of enlisted personnel.  Base your relations with them   on   a   foundation   of   mutual   respect. Most enlisted  personnel  are  intelligent,  cooperative,  and ambitious.   They want to be treated as adults whose abilities are appreciated.   Enlisted personnel want to respect their officers—to admire them and to be able to boast about them to those aboard other ships.   The following   points   will   help   you   establish   good relationships with your subordinates: Cultivate a climate of personal dignity between yourself and your subordinates.   That will enable you to  converse  with  them  about  casual  and  unofficial matters   and   yet   maintain   that   reserve   which discourages undue familiarity. Be  considerate.     Show  your  subordinates  you care for their welfare.  For example, if you require some of  your  people  to  work  through  the  noon  meal,  make sure you have hot meals saved for them.  A good officer always considers the welfare of enlisted personnel. Don’t  go  too  far  with  promoting  friendliness between  yourself  and  your  people,  such  as  calling them  by  their  first  names  or  by  their  nicknames. Address enlisted personnel by their correct title.   Do not allow enlisted personnel to visit you in your room or  the  wardroom  for  reasons  other  than  business. Financial   transactions   between   you   and   enlisted members are forbidden by Navy regulations. Enlisted  mess  management  personnel  are  in charge  of  the  wardroom  pantries,  the  galley,  and officers’ rooms.    Since  they  are  constantly  in  close contact with officers and have frequent occasion to be in  the  wardroom  and  in  officers’  rooms,  you  may become too familiar with them, or, perhaps at times, 5-5

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