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Character of a good Logistics Officer

Good evening all,

I am a twenty four year old student and am considering applying for a position as a logistics officer (submariner) for when I graduate university at twenty six. The branch attracts me for its variety of roles onboard as well as the divisional officer responsibilities. I am particularly interested in the pastoral and personnel development responsibilities of a divisional officer.

I have found the literature and AFCO very clear on what the Navy as an organisation wants to see in its officers, but I was hoping to get a feel for what serving submariners, both officers and ratings, look for in a logistics officer. I'm sure it goes without saying that professional competancy is a must, but I want to get an idea if my character is suitable. As the role no doubt takes one both to the surface fleet and shore establishments all input is appreciated.
 

dustyjack

Lantern Swinger
I am writing this from the vantage point of being a former logistics Senior Rate - albeit never as a submariner.

Firstly, it is going to be a fair few years from joining up before you will get to be a fully fledged DO. As a junior officer you may play a supporting role to the DO but in my experience it is more dealing with documentation rather than pastoral care and to be honest the lads and lasses aren't likely to go to the deputy DO with any problems because they tend to be young/inexperienced officers. You are probably looking at having to be a Lt when based ashore or a Lt Cdr at sea before you will be a full on DO - although this may well be different in boats.

As for the wider characteristics of being an LO - the things the Navy are looking for and what your staff are looking for may not always match. The best LO's I worked with did not slavishly follow the "Officer-Like Qualities" that the AIB looks for. As the LO, your department is very diverse and unfortunately there are any number of LO's who think they know everything there is to know about each of their sub-departments just because they went on LO's course. The best advice I can give is to listen to your divisional Senior Rates - they really are the experts in their particular discipline. Also, "walk the patch" as it is termed. Get out of your cabin, don't send endless emails, and talk to your staff - Junior Rates as well as the SR's. Buy the guys an appreciative crate of beer every so often and once in a while join the guys on a run ashore. Whilst accepting there has to be a division between officers and ratings, if you make yourself TOO cold and aloof the guys are unlikely to go that extra mile for you.

Hope that helps a bit
 
Thanks, that is exactly the type of insight I was looking for.

I was not expecting to walk into a DO position, but that is an aspiration I have. I want a career, whether civilian or military, that develops those sorts of skills.

Much of what you have said I find intuitive, they are qualities I would hope to see in someone in a position of leadership. I suppose my main source of worry is my demeanour. I am slightly reserved, slightly bookish, I know nothing of sport, and my main interests are opera and philosophy. I much prefer a quiet and personal chat to a raucous party. Whilst I believe that I can, as the situation requires, command the attention of a group of people, I am not the 'captain of the football team' sort. I've been told in the past that I can come across as aloof until you get to know me, when you see that I am just very considered and caring. I'm not wet, but I may appear it at first.

Does this description still sound compatible with being an officer that ratings could enjoy serving with?
 
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dustyjack

Lantern Swinger
Many direct entry officers are the bookish type - hence the reason they are officers, so there is no problem there. The navy does put a great store in sport and certainly during training you will be expected to (required actually) to take part in sporting activities. There can only be one captain of the team and if that's not you, well it's not the majority of your peers either - as long as you show willing during sports and perform to the best of YOUR ability, you'll be fine.

As with any latent skill you have, the navy will bring that out of you. If you are good at one-on-one talks with people there is certainly scope for that kind of communication, but be aware you WILL have to brief large groups of people with confidence as well as being expected to engage in Wardroom activities and social occasions. Only you know ulimately how comfortable you would be in persuing these wider navy requirements over your own natural inclinations, but in my opinion and experience, the best officers (LO's or otherwise) are those who are decent human beings rather than those who are the gung-ho type.
 

barny006

War Hero
The Pusser on one of my ships was a right ginger twat the night before summer leave we had a fire , he told us after the fire was extinguished not to worry about sea water damaged kit, he would sort out replacement costs after leave, I claimed for ruined shoes, trousers, and white shirt. He knocked back the cost of repurchase, I remember it just about covered the cost of a new pair of shoes.(there were people claiming broken wrist watches etc.) then a month later he flew back from the gulf 1st class to attend/ represent the ship at a Dinner Function.Thats a penny pinching bean counter for you.
 
Thank you again,

Your answers have increased my motivation to apply. Perhaps I could have made myself clearer. I've no problem - bar lack of professional experience - engaging with or briefing large groups of people. However that I am not at my core a dominating extrovert. Most of those I have encountered who seek to be a military officer do seem to be that way, but I'm glad it's not a requirement.
 
Don't worry Barny, my mother raised me on Easyjet flights and National Express coaches. She'd be disappointed in me if I travelled anything more extravagant, especially on someone else's dime!
 

barny006

War Hero
Hope you make it, Reminds me of young S.A. who wrote home to his mother to tell her he had just been promoted to Junior Stores Account 1ST class, she replied "Be kind to your men! son" Always remember to kind but fair to subordinates and you will gain respect.
 

dustyjack

Lantern Swinger
...... then a month later he flew back from the gulf 1st class to attend/ represent the ship at a Dinner Function.Thats a penny pinching bean counter for you.
To be fair there are laid down scales of how service personnel of different ranks/rates are to travel when travelling for service reasons. If your LO was a Lt Cdr he probably HAD to travel 1st class....it's tough at the top!
 

dustyjack

Lantern Swinger
However that I am not at my core a dominating extrovert. Most of those I have encountered who seek to be a military officer do seem to be that way, but I'm glad it's not a requirement.

Not being dominant is no bad thing (excuse the double negative!) but you will need to be at least a little bit of an extrovert - even if you only fake it really well.

As an officer you are obviously expected to lead and sometimes that requires you to put your head above the parapet to get yourself noticed. The trick is to tread that fine line between being an arse and being an inspiration
 
I consider leading from the front (figuratively) and standing up and being counted absolute essentials in any person in any position of authority. Mine is a question of style rather than substance.
 

dustyjack

Lantern Swinger
Very few people are natural leaders but that's where training comes in. I may be biased (I was an instructor at Raleigh for a few years so I definitely am), but in my opinion naval training is amongst the best in the world and style CAN be taught.....and god knows you'd have plenty of opportunity to practice it.

Apply.....it'll probably be the best decision you ever make
 

pompeyexpat

War Hero
I am particularly interested in the pastoral and personnel development responsibilities of a divisional officer.

As a submariner you'll be the LO straight away, no ALO or DLO on a boat, so you'll be a DO to the Logistics Senior Rates straight away.
It's an element of my job that I enjoy, but not one that a great deal of young Officers seem to place a great deal of importance on so it would be nice to see one who does.
 
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