By MC2 Johans Chavarro, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Detachment Hawaii
Sailors stationed throughout Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) joined limited duty officer (LDO) and chief warrant officer (CWO) community managers for a recruiting brief held Feb. 19 at the Hickam Memorial Theater at JBPHH.
The brief functioned to educate Sailors on the role LDOs and CWOs play in the U.S. Navy, the eligibility and prerequisites for the LDO/CWO program, and finally, the application process and selection board procedures associated with it.
According to Lt. Leo Peterson, assistant LDO/CWO community manager and prior chief yeoman, maintaining frequent recruiting briefs, such as the one at JBPHH, is integral in equipping Sailors with the most up-to-date information on the LDO/CWO community.
“We [LDOs and CWOs] are our own recruiters,” said Peterson. “Working out of Millington, under the Bureau of Naval Personnel, we [the community managers] are ‘there,’ acting as the executive agent for the overall LDO/CWO program, so we are responsible for it. Because of that, we need to make sure we’re going out and providing that information to those fleet concentration areas, and that’s where these recruiting briefs come in to allow us to do that.”
For this reason, Peterson stressed that Sailors interested in seeking a commission through the LDO/CWO program should seek out current LDOs and CWOs for mentorship and guidance through the vast amount of information available to them, something he said he had a lot of experience with during his own journey toward earning a commission as an LDO.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty out there when it comes to what needs to be in a Sailor’s package, and that’s why we stress getting an LDO or CWO mentor to help them through that application process,” said Peterson. “The more we can push applicants towards getting mentorship from LDOs and CWOs, I think the easier the process is going to be for them.”
“I remember being a young petty officer and chief select going through the process, and it was a lot of information and I’m administrative by nature,” said Peterson.
At the end of the brief, Peterson and Cmdr. Bill Johnson, LDO/CWO community manager, took questions from those in attendance, as well as invited LDOs and CWOs in the audience to come to the front of the stage and introduce themselves.
Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Joshua Clower, an attendee at the recruiting brief, said the up-to-date statistics and “gouge” presented during the brief were especially helpful for him in his consideration toward applying to the LDO/CWO program. He also said the opportunity to network with other LDOs and CWOs throughout JBPHH was a nice change, given the few LDOs and CWOs present at his current command.
“I’m on a ship right now and we don’t have too many LDOs or CWOs on board, and those who are there don’t know too many LDOs or CWOs in the field I’m trying to apply for,” said Clower. “So this was good for me to network in, and even my electronics material officer (EMO) to network in, so that we could get more information to disseminate to our guys.”
Speaking from personal experience, Chief Fire Controlman Paul Thompson, who is scheduled to be commissioned as an LDO, echoed Peterson’s and Clower’s sentiments on the importance of networking and having an LDO/CWO mentor to aid with the application process.
“The biggest thing for me was finding a mentor, finding someone who’s taken the steps and picking their brain,” said Thompson.
“Because yes, I have to make a personal statement, but what do I really need to put in there? To be able to kind of gauge off of someone to look at, just not the process, but what each step of the process means was extremely helpful. And finding a mentor to help with that was a big part of it when I applied,” Thompson said.
According to Johnson, with Sailors debating whether to “get out” or stay in the Navy, it’s important that they be introduced to the various options they have in front of them, like the LDO/CWO program, and the benefits it can bring them.
“I was about to get out of the Navy as an E-5, but I decided to stay in,” said Johnson. “I almost got out of the Navy as a chief, but I decided to stay in. I almost got out as a lieutenant commander, but I decided to stay in. So my message to you is if you think you’re going to get out, keep pushing forward. I never stopped the gas pedal. I kept pushing and now I’m a commander in the U.S. Navy.”