Friday, August 8, 2014

MC Perspective: Keep your guard up

My buddy MC2 Alexander Ventura left his last post, USS Nimitz, and became a brig guard.

Whaaaaaa?  Yes, that's an option for us.  In a nutshell, he was having trouble getting approved to reenlist, so he went in this direction to be able to stay in the Navy.  He is an exemplary Sailor, but sometimes that doesn't matter.  It's all about what year you enlist.  Sometimes that "year group" is considered overmanned so many can't reenlist.  I know, that's probably confusing.  Things are getting better, so hopefully you newbies won't have to deal with it.

Read below to see how he still uses his MC skills.  And yes, he'll have the opportunity to go back to MC after this tour.


You're an MC.  How and why did you take a job as a brig guard?!

I took the job as a brig guard mostly because of my year group’s manning rate.  For the year group I am in, 2010, the manning level is at 140 percent.  Even with early promote evaluations and being dual-warfare qualified, I wasn’t Perform To Serve approved, which forced me to look at other jobs in order to stay Navy.  A big incentive for me to do brig duty was the location of the command which was in Hawaii and a chance to earn more qualifications outside my rate and become a well-rounded Sailor.  So far I have had no regrets in my decision to work outside my rate.

What's work like?

It's very interesting.  Usually the days are slow and all the prisoners are well-behaved, but some days get stressful with tons of paperwork from new confinements and disciplinary reports.  For the most part, if a guard knows the rules and regulations of the facility, prisoners will be less likely try to challenge his or her authority.

"Basically we are running a boot camp for prisoners."

My day starts out with guard mount, where we get the rundown on what's happened since we were last on post, what to look out for throughout the day and training from the Brig Duty Officer. After that we assume post in general population or special quarters, perform daily checks, perform vehicle inspections, set perimeter or serve as escorts for prisoners during library call, medication call, laundry call, chow formation or any other reason a prisoner might be out of the dormitory. At the end of the day we perform guard mount again for the oncoming duty section.

 I like being a corrections officer. It allows me to use my Mass Communication Specialist skills in a different environment. The biggest thing in corrections is the ability to communicate orders clearly with prisoners in a clear and concise manner to prevent confusion and disorder. The jobs hours are not bad either. We work 13-hour work days, but we work three days or four days in a week, with a three-day weekend every other week. Ultimately it means a lot of free time for college classes and days at the beach!

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