NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- A Laurel, Maryland native assigned to USS Monsoon (PC 4) was selected as the 2018 Naval Surface Force (SURFOR) Junior Officer Shiphandler of the Year (JOSH), June 5.
Lt. Mitchell Kempisty was selected following a two-day competition with Lt. j.g. Christian Jaunich at Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) in Newport, Rhode Island.
“I was competing against the best in the fleet and I know I had to be perfect to win,” said Kempisty. “On my ship the Monsoon we always give each other feedback because just getting it done isn’t good enough, we wanted to be perfect. I owe it to my entire crew for always wanting more, always pushing for perfection and always supporting me.”
Vice Adm. Richard Brown, SURFOR commander, presented the JOSH award, accompanied by a Navy Achievement Medal to Kempisty.
“It bears repeating that shiphandling proficiency is an essential skill for Surface Warfare Officers. You should be proud of this accomplishment. You as among the best in the Navy,” said Brown.
Jaunich, the 2018 Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CNSP) JOSH, and Kempisty, the 2018 Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet JOSH, met in the finals after advancing through group and squadron level competitions in which Senior Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) evaluated the readiness, competency, and proficiency of junior officers in Navigation, Seamanship and Shiphandling scenarios.
“It’s awesome to see junior SWOs competing and performing at a very high standard and getting recognized for their accomplishments, but this is bigger than a competition. This is part of our fleetwide effort to ensure we are building battle-minded SWOs who are getting the training they need to perform wherever and whenever called,” said Lt. Cmdr. Paul Richardson, CNSP Force Navigator.
The Navy has taken many steps to improve SWO training. For example, the recent Readiness Reform Oversight Committee report to Congress outlines how the revised SWO career path: increases underway time during an officer’s first sea tour (48 total months); ensures a first division officer gets experience on either Cruiser, Destroyer or Amphibious ships; and removes Destroyer Squadron/Amphibious Squadron staff jobs from the Department Head slate. All of these efforts aim to ensure SWOs are gaining needed operational experience at sea and tracking it systematically via the new Mariner Skills Logbook.
In addition, the Maritime Skills Training Program takes a holistic view of the career path, delivering improved Junior Officer of the Deck training, Officer of the Deck courses and the ability to integrate Bridge and Command Information Center training via the Navigation Seamanship and Ship Handling Trainer upgrades.
“Everything we are doing from awards to training is to drive toward a culture of excellence for a more effective Navy that turns training into lethality. That’s our commitment to our shipmates and the public,” said Brown.
For more news from Naval Surface Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnsp/.