A recently discharged US Navy sailor took the time to pen an “open letter” to commanders across the seaborne branch, urging them to be better leaders and ensure that junior Sailors are getting proper training.
Patrick Fisher, who enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and left the service on good terms last year, expressed his concerns regarding what he considered a broken system.
“Last August, I separated from the Navy after eight years of service,” he wrote. “I’d like to take the opportunity to share some insight on two topics in the hopes of making tomorrow better than today.”
One of his chief complaints (no pun intended) regarded senior enlisted men and their tendencies to not only withhold information from junior Sailors but also fail to teach the latter how to do their jobs.
“Too many sailors from petty officer first class to command master chief focus their day-to-day activities on administrative matters and spend insufficient time training their junior sailors on matters specific to their ratings,” he opined. “There is no specific instruction or guidance detailing how much, which kind or when senior sailors should give training to junior sailors.”
Fisher, who has written op-eds in the Navy Times on several occasions, pointed to the 2017 disaster surrounding the USS Fitzgerald as an example, an incident that killed seven Sailors and was later (partially) attributed to low morale and poor leadership.
In response, Fisher suggested changing things up a little.
“Set objective and measurable plans of actions and milestones for senior sailors with regards to training junior sailors in their rating. Ensure senior sailors maintain rating and procedural proficiency through regularly scheduled and graded ‘spot checks,’” he wrote.
By doing this, Fisher hopes, lives may be saved in the future.
“An objective and repeatable system for grading senior sailors’ training efforts will go a long way to ensuring knowledge deficiency doesn’t unnecessarily cost sailors’ lives,” he wrote.
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