Monday, February 6, 2012


Officer-in-charge (OIC) was a position held by an officer (duh) who was in command of either a shore facility or a project management office. The insignia was a little gold wreath pin with a gold trident on it.

There were pretty much two flavors of OICs. First were really hard chargers. It was sort of permissible to goof off a little on shore duty and do things like get to know one's kids or maybe earn a masters degree, but that's not what hard chargers did. They wanted command time to add gloss to their service jacket and if it wasn't command at sea, they angled for command ashore.

The others were officers who had, somewhere along the line, screwed up a little. For them, having shore-based command time could repair earlier damage and get them back on the career track. So they would be on what was known as a "get well" tour.

A pretty common job for a get-well tour was to be the OIC of a NavFac, or SOSUS station. SOSUS stations were pretty close to being considered operational commands. For obvious reasons, they were considered to be critical national security assets. Unfortunately, some of the OICs were as clueless as the male junior officer fuckups who had been sent to the NavFacs.

Some of the NavFacs had their own housing. This was common in places where renting a house for a family might be prohibitive, especially in areas where there was a large summer community and renting a house for an entire year was difficult.[1]

At one NavFac, a new OIC had taken command. For reasons lost to time, he took a distinct dislike to one of the male officers. That officer and his family lived next door to the OIC. The OIC ordered LT Fuckup to move to another house. Fuckup challenged the OIC's power to make him move and declared that there was no way in Hell that OIC could force him to undertake the effort of moving from one house to another, just because the OIC didn't want to see him outside, playing with his kids.

Turned out that there were rules on when a move from one unit of base housing to another could be made and Fuckup was right. The XO talked to Fuckup and asked him what it would take to get him to agree to the move, since the XO was damn well sick and tired to hearing the OIC bitch every day about having to live next to Fuckup.

Fuckup's terms were that he and his family would not be inconvenienced. Professional movers would have to be brought in to pack everything up and unpack everything. Fuckup correctly guessed that such a move would cost a couple of thousand dollars and that the OIC would have to pay for it out of his discretionary fund.

And so it came to pass. Movers came in, they packed up everything and loaded it all onto a moving van. Fuckup asked why were they using a van when he was moving three or four doors down, why not just put the crap on handcarts and roll it into the new house? The movers told Fuckup that they had to take the truck to a set of truck scales so they could determine the weight of his effects, so they'd know what to charge the navy for this little evolution. As far as the movers were concerned, it was as much work to move Fuckup's family down the street as it would have been to move them across the country. The only difference to them was the mileage.[2]

By then, Fuckup was sort of throwing a block party. He, along with several others and their beers, immediately climbed into the moving van for the ride to and from the truck scales. Because Fuckup was going to make sure that the OIC's funds took as big a hit as possible.[3]

Supposedly the OIC was aghast at how much the move cost. Which, much to the XO's displeasure, gave the OIC something else to whine about on a daily basis.
[1] For example, Naval Station Newport, RI had a fair-sized family housing area that was allowed to fall into disrepair following the removal of Newport's active duty warships in 1973. In the late `80s, those houses were refurbished and reopened.
[2] 300 feet, as opposed to 3,000 miles.
[3] Someone later pointed out to Fuckup that he could have borrowed a few cast-iron engine blocks. As it was, two or three roll-aways full of tools somehow showed up in his garage the night before the move.


Frank Van Haste said...

Dear Miss Fit:

The NR-1 was commanded by an OIC instead of a CO...because it was not a commissioned vessel. Classed as "In Service". The Navy wasn't about to give up a "real" hull number to the Kindly Old Gentleman's toy.

It was the skipper's XO tour, and the next job tended to be CO of a boomer. Except for Al Holifield, who damned well insisted on a Fast Attack. So they gave him the Pogy* (poor bastard).

They were all among Rickover's Chosen, so I found it odd that except for Ed Giambastiani (who became COMSUBLANT and Vice Chmn of the JCS), they didn't as a rule go on to remarkable careers.

Current friend of mine was in the wardroom of Puffer with Ed G., as JO's. Five (5) officers from that wardroom made Flag Rank. Has to be a record.

Best regards,


*Pogy, SSN-647, was started at New York Ship. When they went bankrupt it was towed to Ingalls for completion. Time from start to commissioning was over 8 years, and yards hated to see her coming 'cause there was little resemblance between the class drawings and the way Ingalls had kludged her together.

Comrade Misfit said...

5 flags out of one wardroom, that's probably a record. Of my first, one JO made flag. Of my last, the skipper did. Don't know about anyone else, I've not been paying attention.

One DH I loathed, a ring-knocker and the most untrustworthy weasel I ever met in a blue suit, got to O-6. I'm astonished that nobody ever shived him.