The Weapons Officer (WEPS)
The Weapons Officer is responsible for overseeing the Gunnery and Electronics divisions and providing training on weapons and force protection.
Gunnery Division is an important player in USCGC MIDGETT’s role as a warship when the Coast Guard becomes part of the Navy as well as our role in Homeland Security. The division is comprised of a Chief Gunnersmate (GMC), a First Class Gunnersmate (GM1), and are billeted for three Third Class Gunnersmates (GM3’s). However from time to time the rank and quantities of personnel will vary due to promotions and transfers.
The Gunnersmates role on board is to maintain the weapons and ammunition handling systems, small arms, magazines, ammunition and pyrotechnics on board MIDGETT. These systems and/or weapons include:
Gunnersmates (GM’s) maintain the magazines or storage areas for ammunition as well as keep track of the ammunition on board for training and or operational use. They perform Preventative Maintenance (PMS) on all the various weapons on board under the Navy 3M Preventative Maintenance System. GM’s maintain the logs for all the various weapons systems on board as well as the Ammunition Master Cards and Ammunition Lot/Locator Cards for all ammunition and pyrotechnics on board.
As the technical experts on board for the various weapons systems, our job is to not only maintain the systems but also to train other members of the crew to safely operate these systems. Small Arms Instructors (usually a GM) conduct training with members of the crew for unit security as well as boarding team members, in the safe use of Small Arms which are used to defend the ship in the event of an emergency as well as being used conduct Coast Guard boarding’s. GM’s conduct regular training to members of the crew in the care and use of Coast Guard signaling pyrotechnics, which are stowed on board in the life rafts as well as the Pyro contained in the boat crew members life vests. GM’s conduct regular training on .30 Cal. Shoulder Line Throwing Gun which is used for passing lines to a stricken vessel in preparation for towing or to the pier for mooring.
As the keepers of the small arms on board, a member of the Gunnery Division is also the Law Enforcement Locker (L/E Locker) Custodian. This member’s job, aside from their normal duties as a GM includes the additional responsibility of maintaining the L/E Locker on board as well as maintain all the necessary Law Enforcement gear (i.e. 9MM Pistols, Ammunition, Handcuffs, etc.) on board, needed to conduct Coast Guard boarding’s. This member issues L/E gear prior to a boarding as well as maintain and/or PMS that gear when it returns from a boarding.
All in all, the Gunnersmates on board USCGC MIDGETT have a large responsibility in which we do not take lightly. As one of the oldest rates in the United States Coast Guard we have a important job and a reputation to maintain. SEMPER PARATUS.
The Electronics Division repairs, calibrates, and performs maintenance on the MIDGETT's electronics suite. The shop is divided into four sections: Communications, Navigation, Ordnance, and Information Systems. Communications, or Comms, supports all the radio communication equipment, including HF, VHF, and UHF radios, as well as satellite communications and cryptologic equipment. Navigation, or Nav, supports air search and surface search radars, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM) equipment, and TACAN equipment. Comms and Nav are each run by an ET1, who assigns work to junior techs, handles administrative functions such as parts ordering, and is responsible to the Comms/Nav ETC. Ordnance consists of two shops: the MK-92 fire control radar shop, which controls the MK-75 76-mm main gun, and the MK-15 phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) shop. The CIWS is designed to defend the ship against missile attacks. The Ordnance ET’s also run the ship’s Micro-Miniature (2M) electronics repair program. The MK-92 Shop and CIWS Shop are each run by an ET2, who assigns work to junior techs, handles administrative functions such as parts ordering, and is responsible to the Ordnance ETC.
Electronics Technicians receiving orders to the Midgett normally report to class “C” schools for training prior to reporting to the ship. This is known as “pipeline training.” During the period of pipeline training, the tech is generally transferred to Electronic Support Unit (ESU) Seattle. A shipboard point of contact called the sponsor provides information about the ship, the local area, housing, and other issues to the tech. The sponsor keeps the chain of command notified as to the incoming tech’s progress and arrival date. Between “C” schools, the technician works with the ESU supporting the units for which it is responsible. After all pipeline training is complete, the tech reports to the ship for duty.
Information Systems is managed by an IT1. His responsibilities include all the ship’s computers; the telephone system; the 1MC, which is the ship’s internal paging and announcement system; and the 21MC, which is an internal network which connects CIC, the bridge, the radio room, the Captain’s cabin, and the engine room together for rapid voice communication. He handles computer software and hardware upgrades, troubleshoots and repairs casualties, manages all the user accounts, and ensures satellite connectivity while the ship is underway to provide e-mail and Internet access to the ship. The IT1 and IT2 normally receive Standard Workstation III System Manager training prior to reporting to the ship. The collateral duties for the IT1 include Secondary Electronics Casualty Control locker leader and Junior Officer of the Day (JOOD).
Once aboard, technicians can expect to be kept busy with a number of qualification processes. These include Damage Control Performance Qualification Standard (DCPQS). This consists of extensive training in shipboard damage control and emergency procedures. All shipboard personnel must complete DCPQS. The Electronics Technicians also must qualify as duty ET. This training familiarizes the technician with all the electronics systems on board, to teach initial equipment casualty response and ensure optimum equipment operation. Comms/Nav ET2’s, ET3’s, and the IT2 function as bearing takers during Special Sea Detail and Navigation Detail, assisting the bridge in the navigation of the ship during arrivals and departures from ports and during potentially dangerous navigation evolutions. Ordnance ET2’s and ET3’s function as brow detail during Special Sea Detail, ensuring the safe onload/offload of the brow. Another collateral duty for all ET2’s, ET3’s, and the IT2 is the Gangway Petty Officer of the Watch (GPOW). GPOW’s man the quarterdeck for four-hour watches, handling phone calls, greeting of visitors, honors and ceremonies, and enforcing good order and discipline on the quarterdeck. ET1’s and the IT1 enter the inport JOOD duty, which enforces cleanups, tracks duty vehicles, and assists the Officer of the Day (OOD) in carrying out the Plan of the Day.
All ET’s and IT's can also get involved in other collateral duties, such as boarding team member, helicopter tiedown crew, Morale Committee member, Human Relations Council member, or Berthing Area Master-at-Arms (BMAA). We encourage all technicians to get involved in all aspects of shipboard life.
The ETC’s supervise their respective shops and report to the Electronics Material Officer (EMO), a Chief Warrant Officer. The ETC’s work with Electronic Systems Support Unit (ESU) and Naval Engineering Support Unit (NESU) Seattle and other Coast Guard units for support issues which lie outside the ability of the electronics shops. They also schedule equipment grooms and are the Electronics Property Custodians for their respective shops. Collateral duties include inport OOD and Combat Systems Training Team (CSTT).
The EMO’s primary responsibility is to maintain all major electronics communication, navigation and information systems aboard the cutter and keep the Operations Officer and Captain informed of status changes to the electronics suite that may affect our mission capability. The EMO is also the Information Systems Security Officer, so the IT1 works directly for the EMO. Collateral responsibilities for the EMO include Repair Eight Damage Control Locker Leader, inport OOD, Information Systems Security Officer, Helicopter Control Officer, CSTT, Mutual Assistance Officer, and Movie Officer.