Story by MC3 Dugan Flynn
Photo by MC3 Crishanda McCall

Upon entering Deck Department’s 2nd division workcenter, one may notice a boatswain’s mate busily sewing curtains for another department’s berthing, or hear them practicing their piping for the 1MC.

These are only two of the many jobs Sailors from 2nd division of Deck Department perform every day.

“The majority of our job is to handle the underway replenishment (UNREP) gear and stand the underway watches on the bridge,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class (SW) Nick Mason. “We do a job not many people know how to do, and it’s fun. I really like it.”

Second division has several jobs that are visible to the whole ship on a daily basis.

“The sides crew and the sewing team are the most visible,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Guillermo Mercado. “Everyone can see the ship’s skin painted and looking good. The sewing team makes the brow skirts and the berthing curtains that everyone can also see.”

Mercado says many jobs that boatswain’s mates of 2nd division carry out are not as noticeable to other Sailors who may not know what their jobs are.

“Nobody really notices that we drive the ship every day,” said Mercado. “When people think boatswain’s mates, they think of painting and deck preservation, stuff like that. We don’t get a lot of credit for that.”

The main distinction between 2nd division and the other Deck Department divisions is their areas of responsibility, but Mercado said there are other differences.

“The hardest I’ve worked was in 3rd division, but the majority of my knowledge came from 2nd division,” said Mercado. “I’ve been in all the Deck divisions since I’ve been on board. Second division is my favorite division.”

Boatswain’s mate is one of the oldest rates in the Navy, making it a point of pride for many Sailors in 2nd division, said Mercado.

“It’s a prideful rate,” said Mercado. “It’s steeped in tradition. We’ve kept a lot of traditions in our rate. A lot of rates have changed and got rid of some of the ways they used to do things, but we’ve kept a lot.”

Boatswain’s mates perform many important jobs aboard Stennis, ensuring the ship can complete its missions whether in port or out at sea.