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Cordle, the human factors engineer for Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (COMNAVSURFLANT), is a retired Navy captain who held command of two ships during his career. He continues to dedicate his professional life to helping Sailors even after he took off his uniform. Today, he is a subject matter expert in crew endurance, surface ship safety, and the use of circadian watch rotation to improve operational performance. His priority is to find the most human-friendly way for Sailors to complete a mission.
George H.W. Bush reactor department and Cordle looked at the ship’s use of the circadian watch bill to find what works and what needs to be improved, and also what the surface and aviation community can learn from each other.
“This is about three things: the Navy and making it better, the George H.W. Bush, and it is about you,” said Cordle. “You are the only person that knows how tired you are. Better sleep will make you a better Sailor, it will make you a better person, it will help your physical and mental health, and understanding that this is a lifetime investment is another thing. As a leader I have a level of responsibility to you to not use you up and throw you away, it’s irresponsible.”
During his time aboard the George H.W. Bush – a command he served aboard during his career - Cordle recounted his failed first attempt at a circadian watch bill. The biggest issues he had were meal hours and unequal distribution of qualifications between the rotations.
“Another thing I didn’t do the first time was solicit input from the crew, I was the good idea fairy,” said Cordle. “If the Captain says so, you do it. That never works, but I didn’t know that. So I learned to listen to my people.”
Cordle acknowledged that George H.W. Bush has additional considerations as a surface platform with aviation and nuclear communities that are required to accomplish specific departmental missions that support both the ship’s and the carrier strike group’s missions. He remarked that what is good for one community on the ship, often has impacts on another so planning and teamwork are required to balance requirements.
“Crew endurance and resilience programs like circadian watchbills are not only important because they’re the right thing to do for our team, but they also make us a more lethal warfighting team,” said Capt. David-Tavis Pollard, commanding officer of George H.W. Bush. “The planning effort and commitment to work toward healthy solutions for Sailors and for command performance are not easy, and I am proud of the work our leaders are putting into these initiative.”
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