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    Long road to MSC


    Photo By Matthew Montgomery | MARSEILLE, France — James Anderson, USNS Trenton third officer, watches as personnel...... read more read more



    Story by Matthew Montgomery 

    Military Sealift Command - Europe

    MARSEILLE, France — James Anderson’s road to the Military Sealift Command wasn’t typical, but three years into his career he’s glad he decided to put away his camera and go to sea.

    Anderson attended college for two years before deciding the U.S. Marine Corps was a better option. After a successful tour as an infantryman, he went back to school to finish his degree.

    “While in college I got a job working for the local paper as a photographer,” said Anderson. “I liked it so much I decided to quit school and move to Seattle to become a professional photographer.”

    Anderson cultivated his business and landed major catalogs and magazines as regular clients, after years of working as an assistant for notable photographers. He also served as a location scout for television and movie productions.

    In 2008, after more than 15 years of growing his business, things started to change. “I could see the writing on the wall in terms of working as freelancer,” said Anderson. “Most of my clients decided to bring their departments in-house as staff or some ceased to exist. It was becoming harder and harder to be successful without having to work 24 hours a day. I was looking for a more stable job that would still allow me to travel and earn a good salary.”

    Anderson had friends who were personal chefs on private yachts, and through them he met people who were with commercial shipping companies. His brother-in-law is a ship’s engineer, and through these multiple influences, Anderson said he started to see a mariner as a legitimate career option.

    At the age of 40, Anderson decided to put away his camera and attend the California Maritime Academy. It was at school that Anderson first learned about the sealift command.

    “MSC wasn’t initially on my radar, but I knew cadets that sailed with them,” said Anderson. “I actually did my sea semester with a commercial tanker company and didn’t like the on/off schedule.

    “I was looking for an opportunity where I could sail as much as I wanted, plus I didn’t want to maintain a residence if I decided not to,” Anderson continued. “By the time graduation came, I decided MSC had all the things I was looking for.”

    Anderson currently serves as the Third Officer for USNS Trenton, and it’s his second Expeditionary Fast Transport ship, a class known as T-EPF. He previously served aboard the USNS Fall River for more than two years.

    The T-EPF can support various operations; from serving as a small humanitarian relief assistance and mobile hospital platform, to the transportation of combat-ready Marines and equipment when needed. Trenton is capable of transporting 600 short tons for 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots.

    “I really like the T-EPF platform because we work with Marines and Navy personnel — it reminds me of the good ole days,” said Anderson, in his third year with MSC. “We also have a very unique mission and a smaller crew, which makes it feel more like family.”

    Being aboard the Trenton has been both exciting and challenging for Anderson. As the third officer he serves as the officer of the watch and supervises the security of the ship. At sea, he stands watch for four hours and then has eight hours off. During that time, he has management responsibilities for the medical department where he serves as the ship’s medical officer.

    “Anderson is always a good shipmate,” said USNS Trenton’s Master, Capt. Jeff Helfrich. “He has a good sense of humor. He’s older than many of our third officers and brings tempered judgement and maturity to the table.”

    A career with MSC was the furthest thing from Anderson’s mind when he started this new journey, but now that he’s here, he considers it the perfect fit for him.

    “I wish I would have known about MSC when I was in the Marine Corps. I probably would have done this right after,” said Anderson. “I think it’s great — a stable job and good opportunities.”



    Date Taken: 04.27.2017
    Date Posted: 04.27.2017 02:47
    Story ID: 231710
    Location: MARSEILLE, FR 

    Web Views: 195
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    Long road to MSC