Every Sailor deserves to have a guide through that first tour, so step up and be that person who sets the new Sailor on the right track. As cliché as it may sound, the first 72 hours can set the tone for both a Sailor’s tour and career.
It’s up to not just the khaki leadership, but also to that Sailor’s shipmates – like you – to make sure those critical hours get people on the right track. This is what ‘Brilliant on the Basics’ is all about: An initiative that focuses on reaching out to Sailors through effective sponsorship and indoctrination.
There are a couple of fundamentals for good sponsorship. Sponsors should complete training offered by the feet and Family Service Center and be at least the same pay grade or higher than the incoming Sailors. Here are other key considerations: Sponsors and reporting Sailors should have similar family composition (single, married, children), and the incoming Sailor should not be slated to relieve the sponsor. A good source of information for arriving Sailors is the Military Homefront Web site located at www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/moving.
Once a new Sailor is on board, effective, mandatory command sponsor and indoctrination programs represent the difference between good commands and great commands. The return on up-front investment will pay huge dividends to your command for years to come. According to OPNAVINST 1740.3C, command leadership shall ensure that all incoming personnel receive command indoctrination training within 30 days of arrival or within three drill weekends for Reservists. Another investment in your Sailors should include mentorship.
Mentorship can be done from various levels: senior-to-junior, peer-to-peer, within- communities and it can be either formal or informal. Everyone should have at least one mentor – a person who is actively engaged in monitoring your professional and personal development and who can advise you, not just on rate-specific choices, but on your entire career.