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Port Hueneme Alumni Are Changing the Face of the World
AS THE LAST week of boot camp draws to a close, anxious sailors wait for the most exciting news since their arrival at Recruit TRAINing Command - orders telling them their next duty assignments.
The orders will assign these blue-jackets to a ship, shore station, or to a Navy service school.
For most future Seabees, their orders clearly read U.S. Naval Schools, Construction, Port Hueneme, Calif., known to students and other personnel as NAVSCON.
When a new Seabee reports aboard, he checks in at the "White House," school headquarters. Sometimes his school will not convene for a few weeks. When this happens he is assigned to General Detail. He is indoctrinated in the type of watches he will be standing, when inspections are held, and generally what is expected of him while he is assigned to NAVSCON.
A typical future Seabee is John A. Wolfe, constructionman apprentice, who spent his first few weeks at NAVSCON doing odd jobs at the Shop Stores Procedures office, while awaiting school.
Wolfe was taking a heavy equipment operator's course at a trade school in Pennsylvania before he enlisted. He felt that the Seabees offered him the best opportunity to apply what he had learned at the trade school and to develop more fully as a man. He is attending the 12-week basic Equipment Operators school.
The first few weeks of instruction concentrate mainly on theory, the reasoning behind the practical aspects of the trade. After the student fully understands the "why" of his trade, he puts his knowledge into practical application.
Of all the subjects they study, mathematics seems to give the students the most trouble.
"The greater ability the student has in math, the better chance he has in the schools at NAVSCON," an instructor commented.
This spring, all schools at NAVSCON, with the exception of the Engineering Aid and Draftsman schools' went on double shifts. Because of the double sessions, "night school," for students who were not keeping tip academically, was discontinued. Supervised study, therefore, has been included in the day's schedule and is mandatory. The hour and a half study hall gives the student a chance to catch up on last night's homework or to prepare for an upcoming test.
Constructionman R. D. Ginn attended the 14-week basic Builders school. Unlike Wolfe, who was wondering what the school was like, Ginn was well on the road to discovering what it was like to be a Seabee. When he started school, his first main project was to build a sawhorse. "We thought it would be simple until the instructor told us we would be graded on the angle of the cuts and how well the joints fit together," he said.
While the student spends most of his time studying and working in his particular field, he spends part of it in keeping fit. Each student averages about four hours of physical TRAINing a week, including military drill, swimming, softball, gymnasium workouts, and calisthenics.
Perry A. Knepper, a recent graduate from the 14-week basic Construction Electrican school, looked back on his school days and commented that ". . . the instructors did a very good job and were very helpful during the rougher phases of the course. I do feel that the course helped prepare me."
School goes by fast for the students at NAVSCON, and, once again orders are the topic of conversation around the barracks And this time each man knows his next assignment will be as a Seabee. -Perry A. Basch, JOSN
Officer Candidate School
You probably have a shipmate who thinks he knows everything about the Navy, including all the ratings there are. try this one on him-OCU12.
No doubt you already have figured out that it stands for Officer Candidate Under Instruction, Second Class, and that it designates those college graduates going through the Officer Candidate School at Newport, R. I., an their way to a commission in the Navy.
OCS has been in operation for more than 15 years. When the conflict in Korea began, and progressed into a lengthy land and sea campaign which involved the extensive use of naval forces, there was an increased need for trained junior officers.
This critical shortage, as well as the need for a large pool of young, trained Reserve officers, led to the establishment on 10 Apr 1951 of the Officer Candidate School.
The first class entered the Officer Candidate School 287 strong in late May, and formally began its TRAINing on 4 Jun 1951. Sixteen weeks later it was to graduate and provide the Navy with its first postwar group of young officers commissioned from a source outside those already established.
More than 53,000 officers have graduated from OCS since 1951. The school has attracted officer candidates from the 50 states and from 600 colleges and universities.
There are actually three distinct groups of students going through OCS in a given year. By far the largest is the group made up of officer candidates from the regular OCS program, and those Navymen who have taken advantage of the NESEP program to get their degree.
Also part of the OCS campus is the Indoctrination School, to which warrant officer selectees and law specialists go for six weeks of TRAINing.
Each summer the school bulges with the addition of candidates in the Reserve Officer Candidate (ROC) program. These are college students who attend OCS for eight weeks during two summers, then enter the Navy as commissioned officers when they graduate from college.
From the beginning, the school's headquarters at the Newport Naval Base has been a group of 40 wooden buildings which were built as temporary structures during World War II. Now, however, the school is building a new campus with accommodations for 2000 students.
When the new campus is completed it will consist of eight buildings, two drill fields, a small craft facility, a swimming pool, and a recreation hall. The latest in teaching equipment will be installed, including a three-million-dollar computerized tactical TRAINer which will simulate the actual movements of a destroyer and will be used for instruction in the handling and deployment of ships.
The last day of the eighteen weeks is the big one for a student at OCS. This is the day he makes the transition from paygrade E-5 (OCU12) and begins his career as Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve.