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NEWS | Jan. 27, 2022

The Heart of a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Reserve Sailor

By Captain Ray Gherardini, Navy Reserve Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 2

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. – Arriving at Naval Station Mayport on October 3, 2021, Operations Specialist (OS) 3rd Class Chaurice Smothers came with a mission, and with a professional goal in mind.  

As a Reserve Sailor assigned to Navy Reserve Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON) 2’s Maintenance Execution Team (MET) ALPHA Fort Worth (FTW), she volunteered for 90-day active duty for Training (ADT) orders in support of LCSRON 2.  Her mission: to provide maintenance and watchstanding support aboard the Squadron’s ships.  Her goal: to earn an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification. 

Qualifying ESWS is a daunting endeavor that takes hours upon hours of research and learning, studying, and then demonstrating a vast amount of required knowledge on a written test followed by an oral board.  Obtaining an ESWS qualification is difficult and demanding for any active-duty Sailor under normal circumstances, let alone a SELRES Sailor with only 90 days to accomplish this monumental professional milestone.  

Despite the obstacles in front of her, Smothers had a plan and was laser-focused on departing Naval Station Mayport with her ESWS pin.  On paper, the plan seemed simple; she would spend all of her free time on the ship working on her qualification.  Little did she know how much time it would consume during her three-month duty period. 

Upon checking in to LCSRON 2, Smothers was assigned to USS Detroit (LCS 7). Aboard Detroit, her Leading First Class Petty Officer (FCPO) happened to be the crew’s ESWS coordinator, and once he was aware of Smothers’ goal, he was equally committed to helping her achieve it.  

“My FCPO and my departmental senior chief could not have been more supportive of me earning my ESWS pin,” said Smothers. “They made sure I stayed focused on the program and were literally calling Sailors from other departments to help me study.  I honestly could not have accomplished this without all of their help and support.” 
USS Detroit was in a Continuous Maintenance Availability (CMAV) period during the three months Smothers was assigned. She spent hours supporting various training evolutions, including a navigation mobility exercise during which she assisted Detroit’s navigator, and conducted numerous maintenance spot checks.  Smothers also earned her weapons qualifications and was able to qualify and stand Officer of the Deck (OOD) in-port.

Working side-by-side with active duty Sailors and civilian contractors to keep an LCS ready for tasking, LCS Reserve Sailors gain valuable skills and experience not commonly available to those assigned to other Navy Reserve units. LCS Reserve Sailors, by the nature of their training and work, are keeping themselves and our ships warfighting ready. 

Opportunities to get underway, hone critical skills, and earn valuable qualifications like ESWS are just some examples of the unique opportunities afforded to LCS Reserve Sailors.  For LCS Sailors willing to dedicate the time and make the commitment, obtaining an ESWS pin while on orders is a worthwhile and attainable milestone.  

“I could not be any prouder of Petty Officer Smothers,” said Capt. David Rewkowski, Commander, Navy Reserve LCS Squadron 2. “This is a tremendous career milestone and it really shows her character and grit.  She is the perfect example of the type of Sailor we recruit in [the] LCS [community] – someone dedicated to achieving and maintaining our Force’s competitive edge, but also with the absolute drive and determination to accomplish something to better themselves and their Navy career.”