The Norman Transcript

Features

August 11, 2013

Marine qualifies to pilot Navy ships

USS GERMANTOWN, At Sea — He spoke at length on plotting courses and directing a ship in the event of unknown contact. He stressed the importance of factoring in distance, weather and sea state. He spoke knowledgeably and without error as only a trained nautical expert could.

But the individual giving the speech was not a navigator; he wasn’t even a sailor.

Staff Sgt. Michael W. Burkhart, an amphibious assault vehicle section leader with Company G., Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is using spare time on ship to learn how to be a qualified helmsman for Navy vessels.

“With this qualification by the master helmsman of (USS) Germantown, I’ll be able to pilot most types of Navy ships,” Burkhart said. “I would have to spend a bit of time learning each ship’s unique procedures, but I would be able to take the helm.”

Growing up on the shores of Lake Thunderbird in Norman, Burkhart cultivated a passion for the water. Swimming and boating took up much of his adolescence, greatly influencing his decision to join the Marine Corps over the other branches.

Burkhart became an AAV operator to keep close to the waters, working nearly a decade to earn his present rank and billet. Now attached to the 31st MEU and embarked on a Navy ship, he’s taking his amphibious interests a step further.

“I wanted to know how everything worked with the ship, how it operated and what they had to do to accommodate our AAVs,” Burkhart said. “Through talking with the sailors on the bridge, I started picking up a lot of knowledge about the ship. At the rate I was going, I could be a certified helmsman before the deployment ended, so that’s what I started working toward.”

But Burkhart does not let his nautical interests interfere with his responsibilities. His Marines do not question his dedication to them or the vehicles.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Historic quilt from Noble on auction block

    An alert quilter and teacher is concerned about a vintage quilt from Noble that’s being auctioned on eBay....

    July 20, 2014

  • Bark for Life brings pets into fundraising

    Local American Cancer Society member and Norman Regional nurse is at it again, raising awareness for cancer patients with an event that gets people moving. “Bark for Life” is a noncompetitive walk that will be from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Deadline for entering United Way’s The Ride extended

    Kids ages 3 to 8 are getting ready to roll on their decked out big wheel tricycles in an effort to raise money for the United Way of Norman. The Ride, a big wheel race organized by First American Bank and other local businesses, is ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Fundraiser set

    The Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, will host a flapjack fundraiser July 26 at Applebee’s, 500 Ed Noble Parkway in Norman....

    July 20, 2014

  • Sculpture brings tornado-torn community together

    After the May 20 tornado tore through Moore in 2013, hundreds of families were left to pick up the pieces. And it was in these old, shattered pieces of people’s homes and scattered debris that two local artists found something new....

    July 20, 2014

  • Keep toddler’s hair short to help end hair-pulling habit

    Q: Since our daughter, now 2 years old, was born, we have lived with my parents. Being the first and only grandchild, she has been the center of attention. Several months ago, our son was born and we moved into our own home. Almost ...

    July 18, 2014