The Norman Transcript

Features

August 11, 2013

Marine qualifies to pilot Navy ships

(Continued)

USS GERMANTOWN, At Sea —

“His job as a Marine takes obvious priority,” said Lance Cpl. Jose J. Aguinada, AAV operator with Co. G., BLT 2/4, 31st MEU, and a native of Bronx, N.Y. “All day, he’s in the well deck with us and the vehicles, but after-hours and during his personal time, he’s cross-training on the bridge.”

Becoming a helmsman is not an occupation itself; it is a requirement in becoming a boatswain’s mate, a position which encompasses multiple aspects of a ship’s bridge. A helmsman must have extensive knowledge of ship operations, including procedures during emergencies and unknown contacts. It takes approximately three months to learn the knowledge expected of a helmsman.

For Burkhart, it has only taken one week of solid instruction to be ready to test before a board of boatswain’s mates.

“It’s crazy, he learns something once and can relay it back a week later with no refreshment of the knowledge,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael D. Matthews, boatswain’s mate with the USS Germantown and a native of Bedford, Ind. “We’ve even thrown trick questions at him, but he’s answered the way an experienced helmsman would answer with correct procedures.”

Burkhart only needs more practice piloting the ship before being tested out and proven qualified. It is his hope that before the patrol of USS Germantown is over, he will be one of the few, if not the only, Marine helmsman for Navy ships.

“It’s invigorating being on the bridge and taking control of the ship,” Burkhart said. “Not only am I pursuing a personal interest, (but) I’m gaining a better understanding in the full spectrum of Marine/Navy amphibious operations and how we work together.”

The 31st MEU is embarked aboard the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, currently conducting exercise Talisman Saber 2013, a biennial training exercise with the Australian military designed to enhance multilateral collaboration in support of future combined operations, natural disaster, humanitarian and emergency response.

The 31st MEU is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness for the Asia Pacific region and the only continuously forward-deployed MEU.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Just say no to 12-year-old’s Mohawk

    A mom recently asked me what I would say to my son if he was 12 years old and wanted a Mohawk haircut for the summer. I told her I’d say no. “But is it really that big a deal?” she said....

    August 1, 2014

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Jam set

    Norman residents will serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the homeless from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Andrew’s Park, 201 W. Daws St. A pop-up store also will distribute donations of new and gently used books, clothing, shoes, ...

    August 1, 2014

  • CCFI announces play therapy course

    Center for Children and Families will present the course Fundamentals of Non-Directive Play Therapy from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 8 at Sarkeys Foundation, 520 E. Main St....

    August 1, 2014

  • Recent weather has been surprising

    Earlier this July, a dense cold front slipped into the central section of the Southwest — including Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and bordering states — dropping daytime temperature highs into the upper 60s and 70s, which I believe is an ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Are you a puppet or a prince?

    Names have power. This cautionary statement is frequently found in fantasy novels populated by magical beings. The implication being that you should choose your friends and enemies wisely....

    August 1, 2014

  • Crafter’s emporium planned Saturday

    Members of the Opal District Crafter’s Emporium, plus other local artists, will have an art show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, 615 E. Robinson St. in Norman. It will be hosted concurrently with the ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Williams book signing event set

    Jared Williams, a resident of Moore, will sign copies of his book “Cerebral” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hastings, 2300 W. Main St. Norman....

    July 31, 2014

  • Home dedication set Sunday

    Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity will host a dedication of the Ruvalcaba family home from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at 618 E. Apache St. Those attending are asked to bring a pantry item to help the family begin life in their new home. ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Two territorial littermate cats are asserting social dominance

    Dear Dr. Fox: When we decided to get a cat 10 years ago, I thought getting a couple of littermates would work well. They got along during the first couple of years, often sleeping together and grooming each other. As they matured, though, ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Board welcomes new member

    In its June meeting, the members of the Mary Abbott Children’s House board of directors elected Barbara Henderson to serve the remaining term of Anne Ederington, who resigned from the board in May due to moving from Norman. Henderson and ...

    July 30, 2014