By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David R. Krigbaum
Naval terminology is a unique and distinct language that has evolved with mariners over centuries and to the uninitiated may seem nonsensical, but it’s vital for good communication among shipmates.
Sasebo-area chief petty officer selectees visited Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Recruit Training Center Sasebo to share American naval terminology and interact with recruits Aug. 21-22, 2017.
Part language lesson and part cultural exchange, the class brought together 10 U.S. Sailors and 300 recruits. The American Sailors shared their terminology, such as directions, locations and commands, comparing the naval term to its nearest standard equivalent, such as “deck” and “floor,” and the meaning and history behind many of the terms.
After sharing the terms, the American Sailors and Japanese recruits broke down into small groups to practice using them and talk. Because the U.S. Navy and JMSDF work together, Information Systems Technician 1st Class Matt Silva, assigned to Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7), believes that learning naval terms will help the recruits in their careers as it will help them understand their American counterparts.
“It’s great we can understand each other with the common work we’re doing on ships,” said Silva.
RTC Sasebo is a boot camp, like the U.S. Navy’s RTC Great Lakes, where recruits spend three months learning the basics of their nation’s naval service. Silva had recently come from RTC Great Lakes and said he enjoyed listening to their boot camp experience and said there were many similarities.
The recruits will soon graduate RTC Sasebo and move on to follow on training and operational commands, where they will likely come in contact with American ships and Sailors again. Yeoman 1st Class Manuel Barcene-Fernandez, assigned to CFAS, said that he hopes their interaction left a good first impression of the U.S. Navy on them.
“It was a fun day getting to communicate with our future shipmates,” said Barcene-Fernandez. “Japan’s a close ally and most likely we will be interacting with them in the near future.”