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Need advice to help a shipmate's brother.
Last Post 08 Jul 2019 10:56 PM by USCG Boat Driver. 4 Replies.
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mrmaster911User is Offline
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mrmaster911

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29 Jun 2019 09:22 AM
    This could be a little long so just bear with me here. I'm going to as much detail as possible.  

    So my friend on the cutter I serve on (B1) has a brother (they enlisted together) at a nearby small boat station (B2) and he's getting screwed over by his command. He arrived in October of last year and has been trying to get qualified. We work on the Great Lakes so when he got here the boats got pulled out of the water before the lakes freeze over during ice season. They just put the small boats back in the water this past May and he's been struggling to get underway with the small boat for signs off ever since. They kept focusing on the guy who came before him because he showed up a week before B2. It got to the point where he had three weeks left to get a bunch of sign offs he needed to get underway for before they put him on training status (he studies 24/7 while on duty, literally just staring in front of a computer studying stuff he already has committed to memory, and has to stay till 1500 on off-going days when he'd normally get off at around 0800). B1 told me about this while we were on duty together and I recommended that B2 make a journal logging every time the station got underway without him and the reason why, which actually motivated them to start getting him underway more. 

    So fast forward three weeks and the only qualification he's missing is a tow qual. Despite it not being his fault and having a journal of evidence supporting him, his command still put him on training status (they literally told him it wasn't his fault, but they couldn't make an exception for some reason). Fast forward to the present and starting this Monday he'll have to stay at the small boat station 24/7 and be studying all day until he's qualified. The only breaks he'll be allowed are when he's eating, sleeping, or while on duty. He's done everything he can to try and get qualified, constantly reminding them that he needs to get underway and he keeps getting ignored. They just recently got underway for a trip late at night that ended up in three tows (they didn't know it would result in the three tows, but he should have been underway with them regardless). He's gone to the station XPO multiple times to ask for help and the XPO has told B2's superiors to get him underway but nothing has happened and the XPO isn't available right now so B2 can't talk to him. 

    I know this isn't my problem, but I feel bad for him. He's a nonrate at the station and I'm really lucky on my cutter as a nonrate I love my job. The command is amazing and we're really laid back, but I can't imagine being in a situation like that. Is there something he can do to resolve this? Can he go to work life or anyone? This feels like a complete dereliction of duty on B2's superiors part. I don't feel like this would happen if B2 was a petty officer and it's infuriating to me that they would let this happen. It's stuff like this that makes the Coast Guard look bad and discourages people from joining. So what can he do? Does anyone think anything can be done. 
    mkellyUser is Offline
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    mkelly

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    07 Jul 2019 01:56 PM
    Well, first off, there is no dereliction of duty going on here. Second, I should preface all of this by saying I'm not in the boating community. I'm in aviation and things are run a lot differently on that side.
    There are a lot of other factors that go into play when getting a new person qualified. Weather being a big one. It seems to me like there was some effort made in getting B2 qualified. You said with 3 weeks to go he had a bunch of sign offs to complete and by the end of the 3 weeks all he needed was his towing. How did the rest of the bunch get signed off? Did his superiors have a part in signing off the rest of the bunch? What do the station rules say about sign offs? I figure each specific station has rules about how sign offs are to be completed, when they can be completed, and what happens when they are not completed? I would imagine that learning how to tow at night isn't the best time to learn how to tow and get a sign off. I can maybe also assume they they didn't want to take an unqualified member on an impromptu late night trip?
    The boat world is a different one than what I am a part of and on the outside looking in, I see things that don't look fair to me. That doesn't mean people are breaking the UCMJ and should face a captains mast or be courtmartialed. It seems like he is doing everything he can. I would recommend that he keeps doing what he is doing and try to get qualified. Almost every unit puts people in a training status which is designed to motivate people to get their quals completed and almost every unit will not make exceptions. Making exceptions for individuals can sometimes be hard because those exceptions are left up for interpretation. What you may see as unfair, others just seem as unlucky.
    Focusing on the person who arrived at the unit first is not unusual at all(whether they arrived a week or a day). Thats the way qualifications work in the aviation world too.
    I don't see anything crazy wrong going on here. Maybe a little unlucky. Maybe there is something you don't know about. Maybe B2 is dedicated, focused, extremely book smart, but when it comes to practicing the task, he isn't up to standard. I know people like this in the aviation world. There are some guys that I love working with, I think are smart, and I think they work hard but I think they need more practice before they go at it alone.
    Best of luck. He he thinks he is truly being mistreated, keep bringing it up to his XPO. It seems like everybody in the chain already knows about the situation.
    CCCSDUser is Offline
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    CCCSD

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    07 Jul 2019 06:33 PM
    If he’s on Training Status, then he is guaranteed to get his quals signed off. There you go, Rules work both ways.
    reiss_pieces11User is Offline
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    reiss_pieces11

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    08 Jul 2019 02:13 PM
    I agree with CCCSD. If he is on port and report (I guess that's also called Training Status), the station should be prioritizing him. Or he should continue talking to them saying, "Look I need this sign off, I'm here almost everyday, can we try to get it done." My SO had a similar problem (but that's because he was a bit slower with learning. He would be put on port and report, and then people at his station would put his sign offs as a priority. He never had the guts to nag people about getting it done. My SO has also gotten to know his superiors well and develop relationships with them. In fact, his last qualification he should've been put on port and report, but one of the superiors said, "You have improved a lot, I know it's your last one and you're close to being done. I'm giving you until this day to finish it up and I won't put you on port and report." Some stations have different rules, but B2's situation is a tad unlucky. Best of luck!
    Keep Calm and Love a Coastie!
    USCG Boat DriverUser is Offline
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    USCG Boat Driver

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    08 Jul 2019 10:56 PM
    I’d venture to say there is more to the story than you are aware of. You are only getting one side of it.
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