The Commanding Officer’s Right Hand

The Executive Officer is the right-hand man of the Commanding Officer. A position of big power, he is ultimately responsible for assisting the CO in his command of the ship. But, often the XO is made to make some of the more difficult decisions. While the Captain of the ship, is overall responsible for every major decision in the ship, it is up to the Executive Officer to ensure that it is executed properly. However, XO’s are people too, and they are also capable of making some awful decisions for the crew or even themselves. On other occasions, the XO is simply the bearer of bad news especially when a sailor is going to Executive Officer’s Inquiry or XOI.

For many sailors, the experience of speaking to the XO in person is not often a positive one. See if a sailor is causing problems for the chain of command they have to visit a Disciplinary Review Board which can recommend them for XOI. Executive Officer’s Inquiry can be made as a way to prevent Non-Judicial Punishment or only serve as a way to further humiliate themselves before meeting with the CO. During XOI the XO will inquire with the sailor directly about their actions and possible consequences. If the sailor seems sincere or their chain of command vouches for them, often time the XO will accept a Pre-Mast Agreement and even lower their sentences based on their thoughts regarding the sailor. If not, the sailor will be recommended for Captains Mast, and from there they can be further referred to Court Martial. However, this isn’t the only way an XO will be able to mess with their sailors.

Liberty is the goal for many sailors. Almost every single sailor out there is looking for time off to relax from their busy work lives and try to unwind in a variety of dubious activities which can involve drinking, partying video games, and others. But, there are times when things go too far to the right, and liberty has to be controlled. Suspiciously, as more liberty incidents increase, somehow so does the number of activities that keep sailors at work. Whether it’s a man overboard drill or an overly long General Quarters drill, somehow these happen around the time when the XO is not happy with the crew. Even the threat of a second cleaning station after working hours is a good excuse to keep the crew onboard some extra time.

Yet, it’s understandable how the XO wants things to be kept under control. Most Executive Officers continue their careers to become CO’s of their next ship. It’s obvious they’re trying their best, but when you’re assisting in command of a ship with a crew of 3000 people, it can be hard to remain nice among all the madness. Everyone is trying to do their best and keep things together including the XO, but the difference is that he has the power to screw everyone over. When this happens, everyone in the ship suffers. Personally, this type of punishment is not particularly effective as bad apples will continue to perform bad behaviors and ignore the rules. But, it’s the nature of the beast as they say and the right hand of the man will always be the one standing between sailors and their liberty.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Emmanuel "Dash the Bomber" Barbosa

Emmanuel Barbosa, AKA Dash The Bomber, is currently serving in the 7th fleet, and has over 8 years of experience in the military. A writer with a penchant for the humorous and informative, he loves to share his stories with those who would be willing to listen. Having served in deployments that have taken him around the world, Dash has seen and heard about many things that would be hard to believe. A loving father and a faithful husband, he is dedicated to protecting his family and country. For fun he enjoys cosplaying, videogames, and writing for online magazines.

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