OK, I know I am just a little weird, but I enjoyed standing Quarterdeck watches. Back in the early 1970's, because of severe manning short falls, the Navy embarked on plan to permit watches to be manned by less senior personnel. It was called the "Mod Squad" after a popular television show. There were even some "Commander" commands that were manned with Lieutenant Commanders as the Commanding Officer. The USS Bronstein is one that comes to mind.
Under this Navy initiative, I qualified and stood inport Officer of the Deck on the USS Stein as a GMG2! It was quite an honor and I took my responsibility seriously.
I remember many disagreements on the Quarterdeck with individuals who did not want to follow proper Military decorum on the Quarterdeck. On the USS Leftwich, there was a certain Department Head that thought Officers did not need to wear covers on the Quarterdeck because, in his little mind, it would cause them to go bald. He would come out on the Quarterdeck from the Ward Room, without a cover, and I would bark at him!! He hated it and I loved it! Of course he also wore Docksiders when he stood bridge watches!
But the best Quarterdeck story happened when I was the Force Master Chief at SURFLANT. It was a Friday and Admiral McCauley decided to take make an unannounced visit to a ship! He directed the driver to take him to NAB Little Creek and he selected an LSD to visit. The driver parked at the foot of the brow, and the Admiral and the Flag Lieutenant boarder the ship. There was one individual on the Quarterdeck and he was leaning on the desk, talking on the telephone, with his back to the brow. So, the Admiral and the Flag Lt. walked aboard the ship, unseen and unannounced! They toured the ship on their own, going into the engineering spaces, berthing spaces, and in general all over the ship for 45 minutes. No one seemed to pay attention to the visitors and no one ever told the Commanding Officer or the CDO! At the end of the tour, the Admiral and Flag Lt. went back to the Quarterdeck to find the Petty Officer of the Watch STILL on the telephone with his back to the brow and no one else there. The Flag Lieutenant tapped the individual on the shoulder to get his attention and told him; "I just thought you would like to know that your Force Commander has been touring your ship for the last 45 minutes!" The Petty Officer of the Watch replied;."Naw". The Flag Lt. said; "Yes he was". Again the Petty Officer of the Watch denied it and the Flag LT said; "Do you know what these gold loops on my shoulder mean?" The Petty Officer of the Watch replied; "our a Recruit Company Commander, Right?!"
When Admiral McCauley returned to his office he called me and demanded my presence in his office. Before I went in to his office, the Flag Lieutenant briefed me on the visit. I walked into the Admiral's office and he asked me; "Master Chief, who stands Officer of the Deck inport? I replied; "Well, we need to rename that position to Petty Officer of the Deck since NO officers stand that watch with the exception of the junior Supply Officer or the new Ensign." He asked me; "OK, what watches do officers stand?" I replied CDO and assistant CDO." He then asked; "What does the Assistant CDO do?" My reply was; "The CDO's job!" The Admiral asked me; "What does the CDO do?" My quick reply was; "Watch football!"
He immediately put out an order that put Officers BACK on the Quarterdeck and put ALL personnel back on the inport watch bill with the exception of the Commanding Officer, the Executive Officer, the Command Master Chief and the Corpsman. I agreed with him and I believe that is the way it should be today. Standing a Quarterdeck watch or a Ship's Security watch is important to the security of the ship and the well being of the crew. The American people entrust us with the ship we serve on and it is our duty and responsibility is to take care of that ship, OUR ship. Standing watch is an honor in my estimation. I believe in protecting MY ship from intrusion, attack, fire, flooding, and severe weather. I believe in protecting the lives of my shipmates. That's what in port watches do. So, I believe firmly that everyone should be on the watch bill in a position that is commensurate with their skill level. I believe the inport watches, security team, and fire party, should be strenuously exercised and tested every duty day. If we sweat in training we will not bleed in war!