NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- When a ship is at sea, aerographer's mates (AG) are a vital part of day-to-day operations. AGs are responsible for collecting and analyzing oceanographic and meteorological information so that the ship may safely complete its mission. They are often aboard the ship with a strike group, and depart the ship once back in port.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) has one AG aboard while completing refueling complex overhaul (RCOH).
"I am ship's company," said AG2 Edward Ooms. "I checked on board December 13, 2015. I was flown on four days prior to the ship's arrival into Norfolk. When I arrived, I was met with a team of about 12 aerographer's mates, including a chief and a [divisional officer]. As soon as we pulled into Norfolk, the team disembarked and headed back to San Diego, and I became the lone AG."
As a team of one, Ooms became a part of intel department, which is the perfect place for the weatherman.
"The ship is only billeted one aerographer's mate. We augment from Fleet Weather Center Norfolk when we are underway," said Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Kelson Warford, the leading petty officer of intel department. "Intel took over meteorology and oceanography (METOC) department because the aerographer's mates play a pivotal role for the information warfare (IW) community. Without the aerographer's mates, RADAR, weapons, flights, everything would be effected by not knowing the weather conditions and how they affect the platform or systems."
Although George Washington's weapons and RADAR systems are non-operational and flight operations are halted at the moment, Ooms still has a job to do while finishing his sea tour. His job has shifted from hands-on to training.
"Since we have been in RCOH, my job has really entailed getting my qualifications, working on my pins and completing maintenance," said Ooms. "I took a lot of job-related classes at Fleet Weather Center Norfolk and completed prerequisites for aerographer's mate 'C' School. As we are in port, I don't take any weather observations, so I try to keep an eye on any hazardous weather that might hinder our area, as well as watch for hurricane movement during hurricane season, which is coming up soon."
Ooms also takes advantage of other avenues to keep his skills sharp so he keeps his AG knowledge and training up-to-date.
"I do a lot of METOC courses on My Navy Portal, and I read through my meteorology and oceanography manuals to continue to improve my in-rate skills," said Ooms. "I also keep in touch with other aerographer's mates from other commands to try to keep up with current events and AG knowledge."
As a form of independent duty, Ooms has displayed great initiative and a strong work ethic.
"AG2 has a very good work ethic and strong morals," said Warford. "When tasked to conduct anything, he goes in with experience and knowledge of a seasoned petty officer. I don't have to go behind him to make sure things are done properly."
With the support of leadership, and a self-starter attitude, Ooms continues to build upon his leadership skills.
"I try to show the importance of knowing your job, being responsible and maintaining an organized and clean workspace," said Ooms.
Ooms went on to state how he teaches other junior Sailors professionalism and a sense of responsibility for the job they do, through his own actions.
In addition to impacting Sailors in his department, Ooms continues to affect other Sailors aboard the ship.
"I have seen AG2 grow from a third class working on the mess decks, to a seasoned leader within the intelligence department," said Warford. "His knowledge has impacted the IW program greatly by supporting both first class and chiefs boards by being the only aerographer's mate for these boards."
While Ooms enjoys imparting his knowledge upon his fellow shipmates, he also wants to continue to grow his knowledge base. As of now, Ooms' main goal is to attend "C" School in Biloxi, Mississippi, so that he can hone his forecasting skills.
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