When we sailed close to the guide ship within our tiny frigate to transfer fuel and other supplies, I was working and watching (in a stupor) in a concerto of coordinated efforts to ensure that everything Underway Replenishment (UNREP) was executed with 100% precision. Cables, lines, and even the crews of the two ships needed to be perfectly aligned for the process to go smoothly and without incident. UNREPs can be a challenge. However, they are essential in fulfilling the Navy’s mission as well as allowing ships to stay at sea for extended periods without an open port that they can draw into.
We, as leaders, are the guides for our teams who are carrying out their missions at sea. If these missions are going to be fulfilled, it is our responsibility to make sure that the team has the correct information on the things our teams need at the time they require it. To make every mission on the water successful requires an excellent communication system and a coordinated effort. Make sure that every task is successful by achieving these objectives of possibility.
Continuously perform “COMMS” checkpoints. Do you think your team can hear you? Do you understand your group? What methods do you employ to reach out to your team? Practical and precise communications will ensure that you are transferring what is required. If the vehicle needs fuel and you’re moving “sliders” (hamburgers), it is not worth the effort. As a rule of thumb, it is essential to keep communications lines open 24/7 to “be there” whenever needed.
Make sure to sail in the areas that will ensure you are able to be approached. If you’re always in rough water, then you’ll only be closed if you are in a situation that is urgent (which could be too late). As a guide, we are available whenever required. Make sure you let people know that you’re located in the area, and you’ve got what they need to make their task successful.
Romeo Corpen is a call that is used to establish the direction in which the ships will follow in tandem with each other. By using bridge-to-bridge transmissions, we can communicate our location to ensure we’re perfectly aligned while we travel. A slight inconsistency on our route could cause disaster, with our lines for transfer snapping or us crashing into one another. Establish the course, remain on the course and stay perfectly aligned.
As important as the of course important as the course Romeo Speed – the speed of our sails throughout the course. As the captain determines the pace. If the ship that is receiving it falls too far in front or behind, the transfer may be a tragedy. If we must speed up, we must communicate that. If we must slow down, tell us about it. YOU are the captain of the ship, and you decide the speed.
As the guide ship, we aid in the success of missions that help achieve the objective. If our team requires guidance, we provide it. If they are in need of some hope, we throw it on the ball. If they’re in need of fuel, they need to continue. We transfer it to them immediately. Our success is dependent on the way we manage the water, and it is true that there will be occasions that we’ll travel through rough waters, but with a solid communication system and coordination, we’ll get through altogether.