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    Inside the Mind of an Undesignated Sailor

    GULF OF OMAN (July 22, 2019) – Enlisting in the U.S. Navy as an undesignated Sailor may be a little nerve racking at the beginning but, the end results are often very rewarding.
    Every year, an average of 40,000 civilians enlists in the U.S. Navy, according to figures and statistics from the Navy Recruiting Command. Among this number are those who enlist through the Professional Apprenticeship Career Track (PACT) program which allows them to work at their first permanent duty station without choosing a job and decide on the job they want later. As a result, they are often called “undesignated” or PACT Seaman, Fireman or Airman.
    In 2017, Seaman Shanice Brown from Portland, Jamaica did just that. “I enlisted as a PACT Sailor so I could attend boot camp at the same time as my sister,” she said.
    When Brown completed boot camp and seamanship training at the Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit in Great Lakes, Ill., she got orders to the dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) homeported in San Diego.
    “Being an undesignated Sailor is not as nerve racking as a lot of people make it sound. We don’t just sweep the decks, moore lines or chip and paint. It’s more than that,” Brown said. “It all depends on how you approach things, people or assignments.”
    “Seaman Brown is a great Sailor who sets goals and accomplish them,” said Deck Department Leading Chief Petty Officer, Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate David Chisholm, who oversees the daily operations of over 40 PACT Sailors assigned to Harpers Ferry.
    Brown has demonstrated her greatness by “qualifying as a Master Helmsman and earning her Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist insignia,” said Chisholm, before concluding that “she [Brown] is going to succeed no matter what rate [job] she chooses.”
    One of the perks of being an undesignated Seaman, Brown said, is the opportunity to get firsthand knowledge of most jobs the Navy offers in order to make an informed choice on the job you want when the time comes.
    PACT Sailors are designated based on their selection of a prioritized job in a rating for which they are qualified; according to a DON release. “Twelve months prior to the projected rotation date of the PACT Sailor, they may begin the designation and assignment selection process,” the release stated.
    In early June, Brown got approved for a Personnel Specialist (PS) job designation and official documents are still in the works to bring it to fruition, according to Harpers Ferry’s Career Counselor, Navy Career Counselor First Class Anita Stark.
    “I think every PACT Sailor plays a key role in meeting the Harpers Ferry mission. Each Sailor brings something new and different to the ship. They are vital just like every Sailor onboard,” said Stark.
    “PACT Sailors willing to obligate service to complete the sea tour for their new rating, or a minimum 24 months of additional sea time, whichever is greater, may be authorized immediate advancement to E4 [Petty Officer Third Class] with commanding officer approval,” the DON release stated.
    This is an opportunity Brown hopes to capitalize on. “I definitely intend to extend my contract to complete my sea tour as a PS and put on my first petty officer chevron.”
    Harpers Ferry is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.



    Date Taken: 07.22.2019
    Date Posted: 08.06.2019 00:31
    Story ID: 334662
    Location: OM

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