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Naval Oceanography Prepares its Fleet Leadership with ‘O-4 Milestone At-Sea Seminar’

26 July 2023

From Jonathan B. Holloway, U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command Public Affairs

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Recently, U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (Naval Oceanography) hosted its bi-annual ‘O-4 Milestone At-Sea Seminar’ for Lieutenant Commanders in the Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) Officer community who will hold key leadership-positions throughout the U.S. Navy’s Fleet of Ships and Submarines.

"We need to institutionalize the leadership behaviors and the problem-solving skills that our strongest units demonstrate, and then scale it across the Navy to unleash the power of our people."
- Adm. Mike Gilday, chief of Naval Operations at 2023 Surface Naval Association

The two-day seminar was designed──by Rear Admiral Ron J. Piret, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command and staff──to develop METOC Lieutenant Commanders who will be assigned to: Aircraft Carriers; Amphibious Warfare Ships; and Strike Group Flag Staff.

“We [Naval Oceanography] understand value in the professional development of our next-generation of METOC Officers, who will ultimately shape and maintain Naval Oceanography’s role within the Navy’s greater mission,” said CAPT Erin Acosta Naval Oceanography Chief of Staff.

The 11 board-selected METOC Lieutenant Commanders were able to meet directly with Piret, and other key leadership, engaging in open-discussion about expectations of METOC leadership at-sea and grasp the total warfighting ability of Naval Oceanography.

“It is important to our Navy’s mission success that the core of our [METOC] leadership understands the full gamut of Naval Oceanography’s technical capabilities…which is why the seminar itself is so important,” said Acosta.

Lieutenant Commanders attending the seminar toured Naval Oceanography’s subordinate commands at Stennis Space Center, and were given in-depth briefs of unmanned systems and high-performance computers used in actual operations.

“Among other useful resources we have made accessible, the seminar offers a chance for METOC leaders to become more familiar with the processes and procedures of how the Navy’s Fleet engages with Naval Oceanography,” Acosta said.

Below are names of the 11 board-selected METOC Lieutenant Commanders who attended the seminar, and their prospective ship platforms:

  • LT Lauren Baguley (Breuer) (CVN 73 – USS George Washington)
  • LCDR James Griffin (LHD 2 – USS Essex)
  • LCDR Casey Burgener (ESG-7)
  • LCDR Cynthia Williamson (CVN 72 – USS Abraham Lincoln)
  • LCDR Jessica Wasserman (LHD 1 – USS Wasp)
  • LCDR Jeremy Bullard (CSG-11)
  • LCDR Melissa JonMoore (CVN 76 – USS Ronald Reagan)
  • LCDR Erika Fee (CVN 68 – USS Nimitz)
  • LCDR Kelsey Rowe (CSG-8)
  • LCDR Stephanie Geant (CVN 69 – USS Dwight D. Eisenhower)
  • LCDR Heather Pickett (LHD 3 – USS KEARSHARGE)

Naval Oceanography has approximately 2,500 globally distributed military and civilian personnel, who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to guarantee the U.S. Navy’s freedom of action in the physical battlespace from the depths of the ocean to the stars.


Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command | 1100 Balch Blvd. | Stennis Space Center, Mississippi 39529

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