Recently HSM-46 Detachment Three embarked USS Mason (DDG 87) in support of SWATT, Surface Warfare Advanced Tactics Training.

As a Junior Officer on my first underway, I had the pleasure to interact with our maintenance personnel on a regular basis aboard the ship while underway.

For SWATT, we had the opportunity to integrate with USS Mason in supporting of both Surface and Anti-Submarine Warfare missions.

In order for us to operate effectively, it is important to remember that our greatest resource is our Sailors. We are all away from the comfort of being home, so it is important that we come together to take time to enjoy the little things such as the traditional Ice Cream Social.

As a brand new Junior Officer on her first underway, serving ice cream was a great opportunity to meet the Sailors of USS Mason, especially those we don’t get to interact with on a daily basis. It isn’t just about serving ice cream though; it is about being present and taking the time to get to know people.

So many of our Sailors come from different backgrounds, and it’s that diversity that plays a critical role in mission success.

Having opportunities to come together is vital to our operation as a team of teams, and gives us the ability to do something outside of scheduled events.

It was eye opening to see the Detachments maintenance effort in order to sustain operational readiness for ship and air detachment.

With scheduling conflicts, watches, and maintenance to be done, it can be difficult to accomplish.

From my perspective, I have seen a strong push by the Command to create opportunities for team building up and down the chain of command in both social and professional venues.

This being my first time aboard the ship, having opportunities such as a simple Ice Cream Social is a perfect way for Junior Officers, like myself, to meet their Sailors and learn from them.

Many individuals who I may not have met offered advice, sea stories, and general encouragement that proved to be helpful in adjusting to the “new normal” that is ship life.

I look forward to more opportunities to “serve” with those deployed as I progress through my first tour.