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In the books, ships have departments, divided further into divisions, filled with specialists, technicians, and rates fulfilling specific duties to ensure the smooth operation of their ship. Perhaps you want something similar to make your roster feel more like a ship than just a bunch of names on paper, but you don’t know where to start.
A mentor or BuShips can provide assistance by giving you sample rosters, or figuring out layouts to structure your ship from within. There are some basic requirements for those seeking rates, your contact can help you find out what they are, and to help you put qualified individuals in those divisions. They can also help you get in touch with BuPers and BuComm concurrently in order to ensure that the proper rates and onboard billets are shown properly in MEDUSA. This is a great way to help make your chapter stand out. See Chapter Organization for more details.
As a CO of a chapter, it’s important to keep track of rank advancement, time in grade, awards, attendance, and activities as they happen. Members earn promotion points for every event attended, every award earned, and it is your responsibility to ensure that all is being tracked. This all helps you as a commander when it comes to awarding/recognizing your crew, filling out chapter reports, or even future event planning. Maintaining records can help in the event that issues arise with the database, servers, or ISPs, and it protects you and your crew from incorrect data. Remember, everyone in this organization is a volunteer, and mistakes do happen, so consider extra record-keeping as additional assistance or insurance to the volunteers that maintain the club database.
It’s important to keep track of hours logged at volunteer events. This way not only can you account for work your crew has done for the purposes of awards and recognition, but it also allows the organization to track volunteer work. If your crew volunteers at a convention, you can also submit those hours to the convention committee, since many conventions provide perks for individuals who volunteer, such as convention swag. This also will promote the organization as a whole, as it represents the service side of TRMN.
There are many resources available to you as a chapter CO with regard to record-keeping. BuShips has resources available through the Mentorship program and you can lean on fellow COs and your Mentor (if assigned one) for record-keeping tools and tips.
Use Your Triad
As a chapter CO, you have an option to delegate certain tasks. For some of the smaller chapters, say a roster of six or so members, you may not need help with tracking and planning but it’s still a good idea to utilize your crew as a way to train them to move into future positions. But, there is a possibility that your chapter may have 50+ members, which can be a daunting task in terms of keeping track of everything. In this instance, you will probably want to delegate some of the tracking and tasks, allowing you to focus on the more important aspects of commanding the chapter. Remember that your XO and Bosun are there to support you and the rest of the crew, and don’t be afraid to lean on them if necessary.
Your XO can be of assistance by doing the monthly forum posts or moderating the forum and Facebook page. By request, the XO has access to the same MEDUSA tools you do, so they can submit chapter reports in the event you need to take some time off or are busy with real life. They can also help you by keeping the marksmanship log for you, tracking members as they play marksmanship qualifying games. They can also be there to answer crew questions in your stead, taking some of the burdens off of your shoulders for you.
Your Bosun can also help out, they can do almost all of the things the XO has been delegated with, and they can also do things like monitoring the ship’s calendar, or tracking participation at events. They are also the first step for your chapter’s enlisted corps when it comes to questions or issues. Don’t be afraid to “let the Bosun loose;” you would be surprised how much workload can be taken off of your shoulders by allowing them to do some of the planning and coordinating.
Another great way to delegate a large chapter is to institute department and, possibly, division heads. They can help you out by taking specific tasks and performing them for you. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll provide each department as we see in canon, and provide ideas for how each type of officer or technician can be of assistance. Keep in mind that you can only allot 20% of your crew roster to officers and that those officers MUST be tested to at least ensign and have at least 4 months of time in grade (TIG) as an E4 prior to being promoted so don’t forget your enlisted crew. Higher-level enlisted ranks are appropriate to be department and division heads.
- These officers can provide guidance to members wishing to take on a rating as part of chapter role play, advise members who wish to join the officer corps, or get in involved with assisting you in chapter responsibilities. This department could include a yeoman, who can assist with taking meeting notes, event attendance, or assist you as a ship’s secretary.
- You can appoint a chief tactical officer to help you monitor the crew’s tactical gaming proficiency, administer tactical training events, where members will get their points towards their rifle and pistol badges. You can have a chief petty officer as a Chief Gunner Mate, who can help you with fleet events like the Black Sphinx Cup, or other club challenges.
- Your Chief Astrogation Officer, or Chief (E-7) Astrogation Mate can assist you and the crew by figuring out how to get to and from events. This can include anything from mapping bus routes, advising on parking situations, to designating meeting locations and specifying if the chapter is meeting at the west end Burger King, or east side of the shopping mall.
- You can designate an officer or petty officer to your communications department. They can help out by scanning the forums for you, by ensuring your ship posts get from the forum to Facebook. They can be your editor and publisher for a monthly newsletter, or help you and the crew out when it comes to following the organizational guide for layout and design on things like letters and business cards.
- Your Chief Engineer can head up projects involving moving or creating, such as building a portable bar. They can also help with setting up and striking tables at conventions, or do bed removal at hotels for room parties.
- Your Logistics Officer, or Storeroom Clerk can operate a ship uniform item store, or organize a ship wide ribbon rack exchange program. They can help load & unload trucks or vans, or designate loading plans when it comes to hauling stuff to and from conventions. They can take inventory of recruiting items and other things belonging to the ship, and act as a quartermaster for members taking those items to and from conventions.
- Flight Operations
- These members can be the facilitators of carpools, tracking who is riding with who, and working with the astrogation department on getting maps to drivers. They can be the point of contact (POC) when it comes to generating a seating plan or stop schedule. Should your chapter attend an out-of-state convention, they can plan with a bus company or seek out air travel deals for members, or even charter or group rates on an airline.
- You can have a Chief Medical Officer or Corpsman available at events to ensure that members are following the 6-2-1-1 rule: minimum 6 hours of sleep, 2 meals a day, 1 shower, 1 glass of water for every serving of alcohol. They can also be present to remind people to be mindful about food allergens, celiac (gluten-free food needed), or other dietary concerns, as well as making sure the crew drinks plenty of water at outdoor events.
These are just examples of what your personnel can do, you don’t have to follow this outline. You and your crew members can decide which way you want to delegate activities and roles.
Departments can be divided into divisions. This is a great way to further divide the tasking within the ship for practical and role-play matters. This is a great way to allow your Department Heads to take part in command and help further delegate tasking and events. You can check the Saganami Island Training Academy Student Manual for a detailed list of ratings.
Limitations on Delegation
There are certain tasks that only the CO/XO can perform, such as the chapter reports. Only the CO and XO are granted those tools in MEDUSA. The Bosun has limited capability in MEDUSA, but can assist with tracking promotions, planning and promoting events, and generally encourage participation. There are also limitations on who can send requests to BuShips on behalf of the ship. Details are outlined in BuShips Directive 1807-01, Form Acceptance Policy.