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Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic

The Heart of a Littoral Combat Ship Reserve Sailor

by Captain Ray Gherardini
24 January 2022

The Heart of a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Reserve Sailor
The Heart of a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Reserve Sailor
The Heart of a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Reserve Sailor
The Heart of a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Reserve Sailor
The Heart of a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Reserve Sailor
Photo By: MC1 Jacob Milham
VIRIN: 220124-N-OW182-0003
Arriving at Naval Station Mayport on October 3, 2021, Operations Specialist (OS) 3rd Class Chaurice Smothers came with a mission, and a personal goal in mind. As a Selected Reservist (SELRES) assigned to Navy Reserve Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON) 2’s Maintenance Execution Team (MET) ALPHA Fort Worth (FTW), she had volunteered for 90-day active duty for Training (ADT) orders in support of LCSRON 2. Her mission: provide maintenance and watchstanding support aboard the Squadron’s ships. Her goal: earn an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification.

Qualifying ESWS is a daunting endeavor that takes hours upon hours of research and learning, studying, and then demonstrating a vast amount of required knowledge. Obtaining an ESWS qualification is difficult and demanding for any active-duty Sailor under normal circumstances, let alone a SELRES Sailor with only 90 days to accomplish this monumental milestone. Despite the obstacles in front of her, OS3(SW) Smothers had a plan and was laser-focused on departing Naval Station Mayport with her ESWS pin. On paper, the plan seemed simple; spend all of her free time working on her qualification. Little did she know how much time it would consume during her three-month duty period, right up until she was ready to depart for home.

Upon checking into LCSRON 2, Smothers was assigned to USS Detroit (LCS 7). Aboard Detroit, her Leading Class Petty Officer 1st Class (FCPO) also happened to be the crew’s ESWS coordinator and, once he was aware of Smothers’ goal, was equally committed to it. “My FCPO and my Departmental Senior Chief could not have been more supportive of me earning my ESWS pin. They made sure I stayed focused on the program and were literally calling Sailors from other departments to help me study. I honestly could not have accomplished this without all of their help and support,” said Smothers.

Outside of professional development, Smothers was in Mayport to augment the Detroit’s crew and she made the most of her time while aboard. Detroit was in Continuous Maintenance Availability (CMAV) during the three months Smothers was assigned and she spent hours supporting various training evolutions that included a navigation mobility exercise during which she assisted Detroit’s Navigator, as well as conducting numerous maintenance spot checks. She also earned her weapons qualifications and was able to qualify and stand Officer of the Deck (OOD) In port.

Working side-by-side with active duty Sailors and civilian contractors to keep Littoral Combat Ships ready for tasking, LCS Reservists gain valuable skills and experience not commonly available to SELRES assigned to other Navy Reserve units. LCS Reservists, by the nature of their training and work, are keeping themselves and our ships warfighting ready. Opportunities to get underway, hone critical skills, and earn valuable qualifications like ESWS are just some examples of the unique opportunities afforded to LCS Reservists. For LCS Sailors willing to dedicate the time and make the commitment, it is a worthwhile and attainable milestone.

Commander, Navy Reserve LCS Squadron 2, Captain David Rewkowski, “I could not be any prouder of Petty Officer Smothers. This is a tremendous career milestone and it really shows her character and grit. She is the perfect example of the type of Sailor we recruit in LCS – someone dedicated to achieving and maintaining our Force’s competitive edge, but also with the absolute drive and determination to accomplish something to better themselves and their Navy career.”


 
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