New ships, new rates for NAVOCEANO
Last week the new 353-foot Pathfinder-class oceanographic research ship, USNS Maury (T-AGS 66), set sail from my hometown of Pascagoula, MS to Port Everglades, FL and will soon start gathering oceanographic and hydrographic data from the world’s oceans.
She was built at Halter and I have spent much time over the past few years doing weapons training for the guard force there, so I feel somewhat attached to her and her sisters.
Named to honor Cmdr. Matthew Fontaine Maury, the new vessel is some 24-feet longer than her six sisters and is much larger altogether than the older AGSs they are replacing. She has a huge moon pool to help use AUVs. At some 4,700-tons, Maury is the size of a frigate but manned by 26 MCS civilian professional mariners and can accommodate another 26 civilian scientists.
This comes as the Navy is bringing warrant officers back to Naval Oceanography in 2018 after a 28-year hiatus.
In late March, the Navy Personnel Command released the message, NAVADMIN 079/16, reestablishing the program and at the same time disestablishing the Oceanography Limited Duty Officer (LDO) Program. The former community CWOs were aerographer CWOs and focused on meteorology support, originally during World War II.
“In order to meet the increasing demand for officers with specific technical meteorology and oceanography knowledge, skills and abilities, the Secretary of the Navy has approved the establishment of the Oceanography Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Designator,” the message said.
Selections will be approved in 2018.