Story Number: NNS140306-17Release Date: 3/6/2014 7:58:00 PM
By Lisa Woodbury Rama, Naval Station Newport Public Affairs
NEWPORT, R. I. (NNS) -- Capt. Rick Valentine, commanding officer of Naval Weapons Station Earle, N.J., and a limited duty officer (LDO), returned to the naval station to brief the current LDO/Chief Warrant Officer class in Callaghan Hall at Officer Training Command, Mar. 3.
"Congratulations for making it here. Now, what are you gonna do for us, because you're my relief?" said Valentine, a former Naval Station (NAVSTA) Newport executive officer, when he opened his briefing to LDO/CWO Class 14040.
Class 14040, comprised of 49 students (23 CWOs and 26 LDOs), is one of roughly 10 classes that pass through OTC Newport annually for the four-week program taking former enlisted first class petty officers and above for LDO and chief petty officers and above for CWO, and transitioning them into officers.
The collective active duty enlisted time for Class 14040 is 744 years with most of them achieving the rank of chief petty officer before taking their oaths as commissioned officers and warrant officers. LDO/CWO School is designed to help new LDOs/CWOs transition from their previous enlisted ranks to their position as naval officers.
Valentine, who currently has 37 years of Navy service, and Chief Warrant Officer Ron Herb, currently assigned to U.S. Fleet Forces Command, shared the role of class sponsors for this group. Each of the classes is assigned one LDO and one CWO sponsor who will continue to serve as mentors for the class beyond their graduation date on March 14.
Being prepared for a successful transition back to the fleet as officers was the main focus of Valentine's briefing.
"I never thought I'd be standing here before an LDO class in captain's rank," he said, emphasizing one of his many points regarding the potential each individual in the room possesses.
Valentine, who began his career as a Navy diver in 1973, was promoted to chief petty officer in 1986 and received his commission through the limited duty officer program in 1988.
"As a senior leader now, I tend to give the LDOs/CWOs (on my team) a bit more reign," he said. "You were selected among your peers - you are the best of the best."
A recurring theme in Valentine's remarks focused on integrity, and personal and professional development.
"Asking for and taking the hard jobs, then excelling at them is what you will need to do," he said.
Questions from the class reflected the value of having a mentor/sponsor available to them for advice on the transition from enlisted to officer, such as what were the biggest challenges Valentine faced in his 37 years with the Navy thus far?
Valentine reminded the class to have faith in their instincts.
"You are in ideal positions with your experience to bridge the gaps between the Chiefs Mess and the wardroom. Fix what is in your backyard as a division head or department head, and work through your triad to address the bigger issues," he said.
Valentine closed his remarks by reminding all present to constantly be on the lookout for their relief.
"Look for the potential in your junior enlisted and consider them for opportunities such as the one you have now."
The LDO/CWO curriculum includes courses covering naval history, leadership and ethics, military law, naval correspondence, and administration and career development.
Individuals interested in becoming an LDO/CWO should start the process early. Become familiar with OPNAVINST 1420.1 (series) and review the NAVADMIN message that is updated annually which identifies specific requirements.
"Make your seniors aware of your personal goals and seek an LDO/CWO mentor," said Lt. Cmdr. Kirk Nichols, LDO/CWO Academy course supervisor at OTCN.
Nichols suggested future applicants should seek leadership positions and earn all possible professional and warfare qualifications. Nichols also said it's not a requirement for the LDO/CWO Program, but completing formal education, and actively supporting your command by taking on significant key collateral duties will help when applying.
OTC's mission is to develop civilians, enlisted and newly commissioned officers morally, mentally and physically and imbue them with the highest ideals of honor, courage and commitment in order to prepare graduates for service in the fleet as naval officers.
OTC Newport currently delivers five separate officer accession/indoctrination programs (Officer Candidate School, Seaman-to-Admiral 21, Officer Development School, Direct Commission Officer Indoctrination Course, and LDO/CWO School) and manages three Navy technical training facilities on board NAVSTA Newport.
OTC in Newport is overseen by Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill.
Mewbourne and his NSTC staff oversee 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. This includes OTC; Naval Resrve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at more than 160 colleges and universities; Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp, at Great Lakes, Ill.; and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.