USS RONALD REAGAN, At sea (NNS) -- The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) First Class Petty Officers Association (FCA) has developed an innovative way to conduct the Navy's Petty Officer Indoctrination (PO Indoc) course before Sailors are even selected for advancement to the rank of petty officer 3rd class (PO3).
In the past, PO Indoc was a required course of instruction reserved for only those candidates that were selected for advancement to PO3. Thanks to the FCA, times have changed aboard Ronald Regan, and now, all eligible PO3 candidates are offered the course.
According to the FCA, Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW/SW) Brian Broussard thought of the idea to facilitate the course for all PO3-eligible candidates, even before the spring advancement results were released.
"About a year ago, a number of FCA members, myself, [Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class] Dylan Ouellet, and [Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class] Dave Lopez, through a series of discussions, determined that...this manner, though a slower method, would be more effective and efficient."
According to Broussard, the challenges and obstacles faced in order to implement the program weren't as easy to overcome.
"The biggest challenge was actually coordinating several factors of the course at once," said Broussard. "There was the location of an adequate space to set up a classroom, arranging for audio/visual support, and getting the 550 PO Indoc course books printed."
With 550 eligible candidates, Broussard said it would not have been feasible to attempt to teach all the students in one location at one time. For this reason, Brossard said coordination and planning with other key members of the ship's leadership were paramount.
"We also coordinated PO Indoc with the chief's mess. This was done to ensure that departments and divisions could support the reduced manpower to allow eligible candidates to attend the two-day course," said Broussard. "The coordination also allowed us to structure the course in such a manner that it would not interfere with key operations throughout the ship."
Broussard said the toughest challenge to meet was finding qualified instructors.
"Facilitators with an Instructor 9502 [Navy Enlisted Classification code] were the first picks," said Broussard. "However, we also wanted the 1st class leadership to facilitate. So we mixed up the 9502 facilitators with 1st class petty officers who had volunteered because they were excited to share their experiences, pass their knowledge, and uphold the customs and traditions of the rites of passage to becoming a petty officer."
According to Broussard, in today's Navy, innovation is the key to a successful program introduced at any level of leadership.
"This more structured program at a slower pace allows the Sailor to become more involved and interactive with the course and the instructor," said Broussard. "In this method of instruction, the payoff is two-fold: the facilitators will have more involved students, and the command will receive a more educated and well-rounded petty officer."
Sailors in the PO Indoc course like the change, as well.
"This is providing me the tools to become a better leader with the junior troops," said Fireman Arthur Landa, from Engineering Department's A Division. "Should I not be advanced, it is also giving me tools to be a better follower with my superiors."
Ronald Reagan is currently deployed in the Persian Gulf as part of a routine rotation of U.S. maritime forces in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as well as conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in the region.
MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
Commissioned in 2003, Ronald Reagan is the Navy's newest Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and departed San Diego Jan. 4 on her maiden deployment.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.