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I feel obligated to share with SDN my current experience in the UMO training program. I apologize for the pessimism, but morale is a little low. We have finished the "dive phase" and have accomplished all of the practical evolutions. All that's left is classwork in diving medicine and radiation health. Just a couple of things...


1) Billeting: No dialogue has been allowed and the process seems to be secretive. All of us came hoping for either 1) a high-speed / diving billet like EOD, Seals, MDSU, or Marine Recon or 2) co-location with family. None wanted a sub billet. The specialty leader, who is solely in charge of billeting, has discouraged communication. We have been told repeatedly NOT to contact him about billeting and how it relates to our career goals and/or family. We were allowed to submit a short Bio (1 paragraph) that was emailed to him, but we received no feedback. Last week, he sent word down the chain-of-command that billets have been assigned to each of us and all were sub or clinic jobs. However, our billets won't be released to us at this time. The UMO detailer declined to provide any insight and referred us back to the specialty leader, who we are instructed not to contact.


2) Diving: The "dive phase" is over. We had 2 open-water scuba dives and 2 open-water surface supply dives for a total bottom time between 1 and 2 hours. Some of my former co-interns now in Flight School have dove more than I have in the last 4 months. I wouldn't expect to become a proficient diver unless you get a dive billet or are a civilian diver.

Other classes have had better experiences with both billeting and diving and this is likely unique to our specific class. Nevertheless, this has been our experience.
 
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notdeadyet

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2) Diving: The “dive phase” is over. We had 2 open-water scuba dives and 2 open-water surface supply dives for a total bottom time between 1 and 2 hours. Some of my former co-interns now in Flight School have dove more than I have in the last 4 months. Do not expect to become a proficient diver, this is a mere introduction.
What the heck do you do in dive phase with so little bottom time?

That dive profile isn't enough to even get a PADI basic open water scuba c-card. Sad...
 
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I went through UMOC quite some time ago.....billeting always sucks...I feel your pain.​

The process varies year to year and class to class. Sounds like things have changed again.

Here's the problem -- there's only 12 jobs for 12 people....it's not 12 people choosing from 40 jobs. And, yes, most guys sign up for UMO wanting something hooyah.

They used to do it by class rank, which wasn't always fair either and presented its own set of problems. For instance, a guy with a 95.6 average had total control over a guy with a 95.5. Say that guy with the 95.6 didn't really like anything on the list so he chose the billet he didn't want because he liked the weather. Then imagine that the same billet was was the absolute first choice job and location of the guy with the 95.5. And further Mr. 95.5 also wanted that job because he owned a home in the area, his wife was in school there, or had significant family issues tying him to the area. What often happened was this: the higher ranked UMOC would say, tough luck, I'm ahead of you (albeit by an insignificant amount), so I'm going to take this job that I'm not even that excited about even though I know that you desperately want it -- but I don't care because my MDSU Pearl Harbor isn't on the list!

So you sort of see that there is some history here. A lot of classes had a lot of messed up stories regarding billeting. This new policy may be a response to that, and if they are selecting and billeting you based on the bios you wrote, it may be an improvement. However, I must admit that it sounds enormously stressful for you and the current UMOC's.

Nevertheless, good luck. Remember, 90% of UMO jobs are better than 90% of the GMO jobs, though I'm very glad to be out of it and a resident now.

And, yes, you'll have more fun and get more bottom time by taking a SCUBA class at a Sandals resort than you will at DMO dive school, but that's not what being a Navy diver is all about. Not trying to be snide, I agree that the enormous preparation for miniscule bottom times is frustrating and disappointing. However, the training is about procedures, safety, and dive medicine, not being Jacques Cousteau.
 
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FNU LNU

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Are the billets on any kind of predictable cycle? i.e. - will there likely be a bunch of hooyah billets for the next class, but two years from now at the same crappy billets will be back? Thanks for the inside scoop, sorry to hear things are less than ideal.
 
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Are the billets on any kind of predictable cycle? i.e. - will there likely be a bunch of hooyah billets for the next class, but two years from now at the same crappy billets will be back? Thanks for the inside scoop, sorry to hear things are less than ideal.
It is absolutely positively unpredictable. Even a week before the billeting you won't know, much less 6 months or 2 years.
 

IgD

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I think your post captures one of the most difficult aspects of military life and that is detailing/orders/PCSing. The bottom line is you have absolutely no control of where and when you will go. Even if you have orders they can be changed in a heartbeat.

Your post also brings up leadership issues. Were the specialty leader and detailer really looking out for your welfare? Sounds like they did take 1 paragraph of your feedback into consideration. Hopefully they would have sat in a room or at least on a conference call and decided what was best for everyone.

I think to thrive in the military you've got to have low expectations and go with the flow.
 
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Gastrapathy

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I'm not sure why a UMO clinic job is better than 90% of other GMO jobs (including FMF and flight). In fact, I bet most of his UMO class would be happier with the FMF than sitting on a subtender or in a clinic doing physicals all day.
 

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I'm very glad to be out of it and a resident now.

That is more true than I would have believed a year ago.


I did flight, but the gripes are the same. You won't become any more of a pilot in flight medicine than it seems you will a diver from UMO.
 

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UMO Candidate,

I am sorry to hear your experience. Sadly, you are feeling the sting of the changing of the guard in some respects. For one thing a few more layers of bureaucracy have been built into the system and the Specialty Leader has a different philosophy from the previous one. (See earlier post about a month ago on same topic.)

On the other hand, a big part of what you are feeling is dumb luck and the leadership does not want to hear the griping. It sucks and your best bet is to just get to work and try to get into residency ASAP. You all have one thing in your favor.

There are few BC UMOs working as such. If you guys play your cards right and keep momentum, and decide on primary care, you may have a chance to reboot and not have the constant snobbery of residency trained guys breathing down your neck. There is a phenomeon I will elaborate on below, a symptom of which you are already experiencing.

In the Navy MC community there is a disdain for guys like you. The folks who excel most are no longer HOOYAH folks who are studs. They are rather officers who revel in the FITREP system and get promoted by destroying those who are hard charger, motivator types who embrace military life (UMOs). However, some of these folks have made it through to be UMOs and now make decisions. The rest of them have a disdain for you because you are licensed physician who also happens to kick ass. This is intimidating for for the FITREP-philes. Unfortunately for you, most of these guys are residency trained, and you are not. They will remind you of that every chance they get because it is all they have on you.

Once you are residency trained, you are a force to be reckoned with. Bototm Line: Do your tour, go to residency and come back out as a UMO and take back the Navy MC. I know that it seems like an eternity away and that you will be wasting you UMO tour doing sub stuff or whatever, but think long-term. If you do a sub tour, get your Dolphins. If not do, some other research to make yourself academically attractive. There is a sense that UMOs/GMOs get stupid during their tour, and to some extent they have a point.

We have been through two wars and need the quality that the Army has, to bring a hard spirit and hence respect into the Community. Keep the faith brother.
 
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Trajan

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UMO Candidate,

I am sorry to hear your experience. Sadly, you are feeling the sting of the changing of the guard in some respects. For one thing a few more layers of bureaucracy have been built into the system and the Specialty Leader has a different philosophy from the previous one. (See earlier post about a month ago on same topic.)

On the other hand, a big part of what you are feeling is dumb luck and the leadership does not want to hear the griping. It sucks and your best bet is to just get to work and try to get into residency ASAP. You all have one thing in your favor.

There are few BC UMOs working as such. If you guys play your cards right and keep momentum, and decide on primary care, you may have a chance to reboot and not have the constant snobbery of residency trained guys breathing down your neck. There is a phenomeon I will elaborate on below, a symptom of which you are already experiencing.

In the Navy MC community there is a disdain for guys like you. The folks who excel most are no longer HOOYAH folks who are studs. They are rather officers who revel in the FITREP system and get promoted by destroying those who are hard charger, motivator types who embrace military life (UMOs). However, some of these folks have made it through to be UMOs and now make decisions. The rest of them have a disdain for you because you are licensed physician who also happens to kick ass. This is intimidating for for the FITREP-philes. Unfortunately for you, most of these guys are residency trained, and you are not. They will remind you of that every chance they get because it is all they have on you.

Once you are residency trained, you are a force to be reckoned with. Bototm Line: Do your tour, go to residency and come back out as a UMO and take back the Navy MC. I know that it seems like an eternity away and that you will be wasting you UMO tour doing sub stuff or whatever, but think long-term. If you do a sub tour, get your Dolphins. If not do, some other research to make yourself academically attractive. There is a sense that UMOs/GMOs get stupid during their tour, and to some extent they have a point.

We have been through two wars and need the quality that the Army has, to bring a hard spirit and hence respect into the Community. Keep the faith brother.
Why is taking care of submariners a "waste?"
 

IgD

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In the Navy MC community there is a disdain for guys like you. The folks who excel most are no longer HOOYAH folks who are studs. They are rather officers who revel in the FITREP system and get promoted by destroying those who are hard charger, motivator types who embrace military life (UMOs)...
I was intrigued by your post. My sense was the Navy had two main subcultures of doctors. One is in the operational community and the other was MTF based. The two subcultures are aligned with the conflicting missions of the Navy to provide operational support and to staff Navy hospitals. The operational types feel that the Navy hospitals take away from staffing and resources. The Navy hospitals feel that the operational types drain their resources and interfere with their ability to provide high quality care.

I observed that a lot of the times the MTF politics drive the Navy medicine machine. The higher ranking physicians like the specialty leaders are all MTF based while the smaller hospitals that support the operational units have lower ranking officers with little pull. The other thing was the path to promotion lies in becoming a department head, service line director and becoming a hospital commander.

What do you think?

I know several Navy medicine types who don't want to have anything to do with operational medicine. I think it is better to be well rounded...
 
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Agreed that the FITREP system has flaws. I also agree that such a system could create tension between operational and MTF-oriented medical officers.

Also agree with the tone of Trajan's question and that Mr. Bubbles is not representing the UMO community well on this thread.

Last time I checked the submarine force was the operational Navy. Yet, you describe sub UMO tours as "a waste." Whether or not Bubbles has any valid points, it's difficult to take him that seriously when he takes such a bombastic and, frankly, childish approach.

I worked in the operational Navy. The IDC's that I mentored -- many of whom were former FMF corpsmen -- respect me for being a honest, competent, and caring physician who went to bat for them within their operational commands. They didn't care that I am not what bubbles would describe as a "stud," nor did the operational commanders that I advised. In fact, right or wrong, I have heard some line LCDR's and even CDR's on occasion make fun of previous UMO's who did fancy themselves as studs with confidence that their physical and self-inflated military prowess "got the line's respect."

I find it rather pathetic when people who have never deployed or seen combat -- the vast majority of UMO's -- think so highly of their military credibility. No, bubbles, dive school -- even in the old days -- doesn't count. If a Marine GMO or FS who went to Afghanistan or Iraq and got a Bronze Star or Air Medal thinks he represents a warrior healer, that's something we can respect. However, I must mention that I know some pretty impressive Navy residents who were Marine GMO's in Fallujia in 2005. Interestingly, they are much more focused on clinical acumen than pretending to be the warriors that they served so honorably. And I am absolutely certain that none of them would call taking care of submariners a waste.

Just another perspective.
 
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BubblesnBugsDoc

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I think that these observations are partly true, but flavored by the undercurrent of personality types which each subculture attracts.

I came into the Navy with a solid understanding that the MC exists to support the war fighting machine. Unfortunately, many are driven by department head dreams and MTF-centered career paths. There is nothing wrong with those aspirations, but many of these docs seem to develop a sense of rivalry with the operationally minded. There are also those who try to avoid the MTF who are also unbalanced in my view, but rarely malignant about it.

It is sad that young UMO candidates and many others who are truly inspired by the fight against America's enemies are not appreciated or allowed to grow by the other subculture, and many of them just decide to get out.

This perpetuates the Peter Principle, and the ones who stick around are the least interested in the actual military and most interested in awards, the next pay grade and bragging about who they know.

I think balance is most important because of the importance of remaining academically proficient as a physician, not just to advance one's career, but to be the best doc possible. In a perfect world, the noblest of ambitions would make the highest ranking physicians. I do not think that this is the Navy Medicine reality though.
 

BubblesnBugsDoc

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Agreed that the FITREP system has flaws. I also agree that such a system could create tension between operational and MTF-oriented medical officers.

Also agree with the tone of Trajan's question and that Mr. Bubbles is not representing the UMO community well on this thread.

Last time I checked the submarine force was the operational Navy. Yet, you describe sub UMO tours as "a waste." Whether or not Bubbles has any valid points, it's difficult to take him that seriously when he takes such a bombastic and, frankly, childish approach.

I worked in the operational Navy. The IDC's that I mentored -- many of whom were former FMF corpsmen -- respect me for being a honest, competent, and caring physician who went to bat for them within their operational commands. They didn't care that I am not what bubbles would describe as a "stud," nor did the operational commanders that I advised. In fact, right or wrong, I have heard some line LCDR's and even CDR's on occasion make fun of previous UMO's who did fancy themselves as studs with confidence that their physical and self-inflated military prowess "got the line's respect."

I find it rather pathetic when people who have never deployed or seen combat -- the vast majority of UMO's -- think so highly of their military credibility. No, bubbles, dive school -- even in the old days -- doesn't count. If a Marine GMO or FS who went to Afghanistan or Iraq and got a Bronze Star or Air Medal thinks he represents a warrior healer, that's something we can respect. However, I must mention that I know some pretty impressive Navy residents who were Marine GMO's in Fallujia in 2005. Interestingly, they are much more focused on clinical acumen than pretending to be the warriors that they served so honorably. And I am absolutely certain that none of them would call taking care of submariners a waste.

I'm sure that you are very capable and accomplished. However, your posts give the impression that you are full of hot air and still play with GI Joe Figures.

Just another perspective.
Former UMO,

I regret that my tone was misunderstood and I hope that you understand that my intent was to lend a little support to our thread starter. The terms that you use are harsh. I apologize if my opinions were so hair raising that you were unale to contain your anger. I respect your position, and only addressed UMOs becasue this was the position of the UMOC.

It is true that the vast majority of docs who have served under fire recently were GMOs and even some FS have engaged the enemy from the air. However, the physicians for whom you came to bat are even more resented by the indiviudals with whom I take issue. You may want to redirect your anger because you are probably one of those who are resented.

Additionally, sub tours are fine, but the fact is the guy who started the thread DOES see it as a waste of time, and the best advice you can give is to encourage him to go do it, decide for himself, and be committed to get his Dolphins while he is there, have a positive attitude from the get-go, and move on if he doesn't like it and do residency.

BTW, please self-assess before you make personal attacks on a publc forum and then have the audacity to come out and accuse people of not representing a community. I may gripe about a system or community, but I will not attack individuals personally, especially here. Furthermore, if you think I am so inaccurate, read the first post which started this in the first place... Its not just me.
 

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BubblesnBugsDoc- I find it interesting that all of your posts seemed focused on being viewed as a "stud", being a diver, and fighting the enemy, but you don't seem to comment much on taking care of patients and such.

Those of us looking into the Navy UMO program used to get great advice from a very gung-ho four year DMO who basically said this: you don't get the respect of the men by bragging about bottom time or pretending to be Joe Diver. You are not one of them. You are dive certified, but your job is not as a Navy Diver. You get the respect of your men by being a sharp clinician, because that is your job. The least respected DMOs are often the first ones in the water; the most respected DMOs are the ones that will stay late in clinic to take care of a diver's dependents. Is it as sexy? No. But you're not in a beer ad. You're a doctor. That's the value you bring to the team.

And Trajan has a good point: half the training and over half the responsibility of the UMO is submarine-based, not diver-based. Viewing that half of the job as a "waste" since it doesn't involve blowing bubbles seems short-sited and not representative of the community as a whole.
 

BubblesnBugsDoc

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BubblesnBugsDoc- I find it interesting that all of your posts seemed focused on being viewed as a "stud", being a diver, and fighting the enemy, but you don't seem to comment much on taking care of patients and such.

Those of us looking into the Navy UMO program used to get great advice from a very gung-ho four year DMO who basically said this: you don't get the respect of the men by bragging about bottom time or pretending to be Joe Diver. You are not one of them. You are dive certified, but your job is not as a Navy Diver. You get the respect of your men by being a sharp clinician, because that is your job. The least respected DMOs are often the first ones in the water; the most respected DMOs are the ones that will stay late in clinic to take care of a diver's dependents. Is it as sexy? No. But you're not in a beer ad. You're a doctor. That's the value you bring to the team.

And Trajan has a good point: half the training and over half the responsibility of the UMO is submarine-based, not diver-based. Viewing that half of the job as a "waste" since it doesn't involve blowing bubbles seems short-sited and not representative of the community as a whole.
Notdeadyet,

Read the "waste" part carefully. Some people vew it like that. My advice is to make the best of it regardless. The best way to do this is to become involved, learn about subs and the Community, earn respect of the guys by earning Dolphins and getting some research done at the same time. Its a win/win.

All of the points you outlined are true, and being a UMO in the sub community can be pretty rewarding and no less gung-ho than any strictly diving billet. War is war whether you are shooting bullets, torpedoes, or heaven forbid, nukes. In addition, one of the most interesting billets is at NEDU, a true supporting role of the fighting Navy in the research and testing arena. My responses to being a "stud" relate to the folks who go into UMO because of the physical nature of the program. It is a topc which deseves attention, but as long as dive school is part of the curriculum, we need the "studs". The information is tedious, but not difficult. Most physicians will have no problem with the academics, but most WILL have trouble with the physical aspects because there is no other requirment like it in the career path.


My experience is that the most respected DMOs are the most respected doctors. They do everything they can to get guys to schools, deployed or back in the fight after an injury ASAP. This can sometimes take extra coordination and bribing of other doctors and support staff to get er dun.

Know your patients. Be able to walk through the camp anf ask each and every Diver, Marine Operator, Bubble Head how his X is doing, or if he is still taking his Septra. The cherry on top is when you hang during PT.

Be willing to travel to outlying hospitals to check up on guys who get injured at other locations. Be an educator. Take extra time to teach IDCs, let them do procedures and do not be afraid to have a basic science lesson for the guys. You would be surprised how they appreciate some deeper explanation beyond algorithmic medicine. It can truly be rewarding even if the COC does not see your work first hand.

The goal should be:

1. Be a "stud" so you can make it through and pass Dive School.
2. Keep a good attitude to do well in Rad health.
3. Be satisfied with any type of billet.
4. Go to the billet and make the best of it by earning Dolphins, doing research, learning to be a medical leader. Try to earn them even if a dive guy.
5. Get back into residency, kick butt and if you want, come back out as a senior UMO.

Unfortunately, the day of the four year DMO may be a thing of the past. Those of us who did it are dinosaurs. Because of the changing tides in Navy Medicine and the problems with subculture differences described above, I think the future of the UMO is the BC UMO.

The problems I delineated before have to with some who do not appreciate physicians who serve operationally, which includes subs and GMOs. Hope this helps.
 

pgg

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I'm not sure why a UMO clinic job is better than 90% of other GMO jobs (including FMF and flight). In fact, I bet most of his UMO class would be happier with the FMF than sitting on a subtender or in a clinic doing physicals all day.
Amen. I'd have been in IgD's office every other day if I'd been stuffed in a clinic doing one physical after another.


notdeadyet said:
great advice from a very gung-ho four year DMO who basically said this: you don't get the respect of the men by bragging about bottom time or pretending to be Joe Diver. You are not one of them. You are dive certified, but your job is not as a Navy Diver. You get the respect of your men by being a sharp clinician, because that is your job.
I'm so glad to see other people get it. I was a regular grunt Marine infantry GMO but this applies there too.

Over, and over, and over again we are reminded how important it is to be an OFFICER in addition to being a doctor, that GMOs get into trouble because they're too much doctor and not enough OFFICER ... that and this emphasis on PT and being able to hang with the guys just drives me insane.

The only GMOs I ever saw get into trouble were the ones who spent too much time dicking around doing fun line stuff and flaked on or half-assed the doctor stuff.

Two GMOs I knew stick out in my mind:
1) the battalion surgeon who preceded me - out of weight standards, didn't PT with the Marines, didn't go out on humps, didn't put on the kevlar/flak/SAPIs , put his hands in his pockets (oh noes!) when it was cold ... but a great doctor who the battalion CO referred to as "the best battalion surgeon I've ever had" during his farewell. I was lucky to learn from him and take over his department when he left.
2) another battalion surgeon, PT animal, gung-ho guy, repeatedly asked to hop units so he could deploy more ... ultimately finished his GMO tour and went off to residency leaving a 10 month backlog of PEBs for injured Marines he just never got around to finishing. The poor GMO who filled his spot was doubly screwed from day 1 - not only was his BAS a mess, but the line was confused/disappointed/irritated with him because HE wasn't out there for PT every morning at 6 with the guys.

And then you have the line commanders who are exposed to these occasional doctors with body armor and M4 infatuation complexes, and they start believing the hype and get the idea that it's appropriate to start UTILIZING them like glorified high speed Corpsmen ... on convoys, on patrols, during ops.

Flying's fun, diving's fun, dropping mortars in the tube is fun, chewing through a can of ammo in a SAW is fun, but god damn it, just like kids need parents not live-in grownup friends, the line needs doctors not MC doofuses who think they're at adventure summer camp.

That doesn't mean you can't have any fun with the line as a GMO (I sure did), just that "medical bearing" should win out over the "military bearing" ...

Rant over, carry on.
 

Gastrapathy

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amen. I'd have been in igd's office every other day if i'd been stuffed in a clinic doing one physical after another.




I'm so glad to see other people get it. I was a regular grunt marine infantry gmo but this applies there too.

Over, and over, and over again we are reminded how important it is to be an officer in addition to being a doctor, that gmos get into trouble because they're too much doctor and not enough officer ... That and this emphasis on pt and being able to hang with the guys just drives me insane.

The only gmos i ever saw get into trouble were the ones who spent too much time dicking around doing fun line stuff and flaked on or half-assed the doctor stuff.

Two gmos i knew stick out in my mind:
1) the battalion surgeon who preceded me - out of weight standards, didn't pt with the marines, didn't go out on humps, didn't put on the kevlar/flak/sapis , put his hands in his pockets (oh noes!) when it was cold ... But a great doctor who the battalion co referred to as "the best battalion surgeon i've ever had" during his farewell. I was lucky to learn from him and take over his department when he left.
2) another battalion surgeon, pt animal, gung-ho guy, repeatedly asked to hop units so he could deploy more ... Ultimately finished his gmo tour and went off to residency leaving a 10 month backlog of pebs for injured marines he just never got around to finishing. The poor gmo who filled his spot was doubly screwed from day 1 - not only was his bas a mess, but the line was confused/disappointed/irritated with him because he wasn't out there for pt every morning at 6 with the guys.

And then you have the line commanders who are exposed to these occasional doctors with body armor and m4 infatuation complexes, and they start believing the hype and get the idea that it's appropriate to start utilizing them like glorified high speed corpsmen ... On convoys, on patrols, during ops.

Flying's fun, diving's fun, dropping mortars in the tube is fun, chewing through a can of ammo in a saw is fun, but god damn it, just like kids need parents not live-in grownup friends, the line needs doctors not mc doofuses who think they're at adventure summer camp.

that doesn't mean you can't have any fun with the line as a gmo (i sure did), just that "medical bearing" should win out over the "military bearing" ...

Rant over, carry on.
+1000
 

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Perfectly said. My flyers couldn't care less if I flunked my PT test (ok, they'd make fun of me), so long as I can take care of them when they need help. Most of the other stuff is gravy; it's cool when I know something about their aircraft and jobs, but they start to wonder why I'm not doing MY job if I'm hanging out with them too much and the waivers/MEBs/profiles and patients are piling up back in the clinic.
 
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I'm driven to be a good physician. I joined the UMO community hoping for more... to also be Hooyah, exceed physical standards, and be a legit member of an elite community. I could be a good doctor AND manage this ... I bet Bubbles could too. I thought that was a requisite for being a UMO and the reason the dive bubble was looked upon with such respect.

By the way, I'm not talking about the GMO or FS communities - I'm specifically referring to Undersea Medicine. I don't care about a fat GMO without military bearing who is a competent doctor. I thought Deep Sea docs were supposed to be a level above.
 
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As a current UMO canidate and a classmate of UMOcanidate. I feel the need to share my experiences and substantiate what has already been shared above. I will make two posts, the first will share my displeasure with the community and my insight into the future of the community. The second will address some of what has been shared already. I will state, at the beginning, that what I write is my opinion/experience. I intend for this to educate those considering a career in Undersea Medicine.*

BILLITING
This is probably the single greatest cause of fustration within my class. As UMOcanidate described above, moral is currently at rock bottom with at least 3/4 of my class disappointed in not only the choice of billets but also with the process by which billets are allocated.*
When I (and many of my classmates) were recruited, we were shown multiple videos and powerpoints depicting diving, dive school, and pool week. The epmphasis was on diving and not surprisingly, the UMO's recruiting us were those who were fortunate enough to have been in a dive billet. The reality is that only 1/3 of our billets are in the dive community. The majority of UMO's are assigned to the submarine community. While I was not completely surprised, I anticipated at least 1-2 dive billets for my class. We have been told by our chain of command that there will be no dive spots for our class. 100% are going to the sub community. How could we not feel upset?*
The knife in our backs came when we found how billets were to be distributed. When I was recruited, I was told that billets were based on a combination of family colocation issues and overall class ranking. This was the case until the current class. When we were in Groton, we were told that the specialty leader would interview us after he released the final billet list. He would use a combination of prior experience, the bio, the interview, and family situation to determine the appropriate assignment. Just prior to leaving for dive school we were assurred that the list would be released and the interview would take place during dive school. The reality is that the list was never distributed and the interview never occurred. We have been assigned solely on our bios. Several students rewrote their bios when they saw the projected billet list, and I will describe in the next post the problems with that.
As UMOcanidated stated before, our sepcialty leader (the person assigning the billets) is far from approachable. I asked the chain of command to speak with him regarding my family situation and I was denied that opportunity.
In short, I have no chance of going to a dive unit and I have been assigned, at random, by a speciality leader who refuses to speak to me or listen to my concerns about my family.*

STANDARDS
Part of my motivation for entering the UMO community was to join an "elite" community. I wanted to be part of a community that required physical fitness in addition to good medicine. What I expected and what I experienced are two totally different things. I'm not sure if it's because this community is so severely undermanned, but canidates are pushed through the physical standards. The standards that I'm talking about are the MINIMUM physical standards necessary to be a Military Diver (swim, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, run, and a bay fin). I think that only half of my class could pass the physical screening test (using proper form) and pass the bay fin. The instructors allow the weaker students to cheat (kipping, half push-ups, and students pulling other students on the bay fin) so they can pass. The result is that there are out of shape and overweight UMO's. I feel that this diminishes from what I have worked hard to achieve. If everyone can do it, it is no longer something special. I don't see this changing in the near future. There is such a demand for UMO's that the standards will be sacrificed for numbers.*

FINANCIAL IRRISPONSIBILITY
The course is part of the fleecing of America. In reality, it should be a four month course. We have been told that radiation health could be taught in 2 months, and dive school is about 2 months long. The course is extended by 2 months to make it a PCS assignment. Otherwise, we would have to be assigned prior to starting the course. Obviously, this would give the applicants greater control over assignments and would result in fewer UMO canidates. This extension comes at a price though. The tax payers are paying 2 months of salary for up to 15 doctors unnecessarily. In addition, the rad health portion is not very useful for those going to dive billets. For those individuals, four months of this course are fluf.*

THE FUTURE
Although I have been in the community for a very short period of time, I am starting to see the writing on the wall. The community is SEVERELY undermanned. I would estimate that we are currently at 70% of where we should be. The result is that some jobs are unfilled and the remaining UMO's have to work harder to pick up the slack. The numbers are only going to get worse. We should have 30 UMO canidates per year to maintain manning. There are only going to be 14 TOTAL for next year. 1-2 of those will not make it through (on average). Eventually we will reach a breaking point.*
I believe the correct solution would be to eliminate UMO's and separate the community into Radiation Health Medical Officer and Dive Medical Officer. Allow sailors to choose sub billets or DMO billets much like choosing among the various GMO billets. Then the individual could complete either rad health or dive school en route to that assignment. I feel that this would not only shorten the training time (and save the tax payers money) but it would also increase the numbers. Hoo-yaa individuals would be able to know they are going to a dive community. People looking for a non-deployable clinic assignment could go to subs without having to worry about the physical demands of dive school.*
In reality, I forsee more of the dive billets going to DMO trained PA's. The UMO's will be relagated to sub billets. I think this will cause a furthe decline in the UMO community.*

Again, this is just my opinion in regards to the UMO community. Hopefully this honest insight will benefit those considering this field. I will try to write another post addressing some of the points brought up by those replying to the original post. * * * * * *
 

IgD

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Could you guys trade after the assignments are released? Maybe you guys could all have pizza, beer and discuss assignments. If two people agree to a swap, maybe the specialty leader would agree to that. You'd have to be mindful that some don't want to swap.

Or better yet, all your spouses should get together and e-mail the specialty leader's spouse and fix everything.
 

BubblesnBugsDoc

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Bubbles: did you really say: "the terms you use are harsh"

Wait, I thought you were a stud who had the respect of bad ass Navy divers? Kind of thin skinned for the dive doc who likes to roll with the boys. But then again, I'm just a former submarine UMO wimp.

Soon to be UMOs,

I am sorry to hear your woes in the final stages in the process. Billeting is always painful, especially when you do not particularly want what is on the table. I addressed some of the issues previously because the leadership in the Community has adopted a philosophy somewhat different from before. For instance, take a hard look at the ridiculous back and forth into which I was dragged by Former UMO. This type of pettiness exemplifies what the current leadership is seeking, and you are obviously not it. Former UMO represents the Star UMO in this current culture. It is something that will change with time. This is why I recommend completing a tour, being happy with the tour you are assigned, making the most of it, and coming back out to mentor future UMOs to be good doctors in the Community.

It is absolutely true that being a good physician is the most important thing. However, I cite a similar issue in medicine proper. Some surgeons insist that they do not have to be decent human beings as long as they are good surgeons. In the same way, being a good physician is only part of a well-rounded MILITARY physician. As someone said earlier, you have to be well-rounded, a good physician, hard-working and a decent officer.

The sting of this process will go away. Like all things, the seasons in the community will eventually change, so hang in there. Much of what is going on is political. The community is undermanned (or womanned) and it looks bad for a specialty leader to be undermanned. He needs to do whatever he can to fix it. This means getting folks through no matter what it takes.

Good luck and best wishes on the final decisions. Keep your chins up. HOOYAH DEEP SEA!
 

IgD

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Some surgeons insist that they do not have to be decent human beings as long as they are good surgeons. In the same way, being a good physician is only part of a well-rounded MILITARY physician.
Rationalization - In psychology and logic, rationalization (or making excuses) is the process of constructing a logical justification for a belief, decision, action or lack thereof that was originally arrived at through a different mental process. It is a defense mechanism in which perceived controversial behaviors or feelings are explained in a rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation of the behavior or feeling in question.
 

BubblesnBugsDoc

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Rationalization - In psychology and logic, rationalization (or making excuses) is the process of constructing a logical justification for a belief, decision, action or lack thereof that was originally arrived at through a different mental process. It is a defense mechanism in which perceived controversial behaviors or feelings are explained in a rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation of the behavior or feeling in question.
SIMPLY GEEEEENIUS! :laugh: Nailed it.
 

Gastrapathy

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It is absolutely true that being a good physician is the most important thing. However, I cite a similar issue in medicine proper. Some surgeons insist that they do not have to be decent human beings as long as they are good surgeons. In the same way, being a good physician is only part of a well-rounded MILITARY physician. As someone said earlier, you have to be well-rounded, a good physician, hard-working and a decent officer.
Being a good physician is 99% of being a good military physician.

BTW, I'm not sure if your name was intended to out yourself or some clever misdirection but when I think of "The bubbles..." and infectious disease, not too many people come to mind.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Interesting how these forums on UMOs become so decisive...
I am a 1st year med student right now and Navy bound after finishing up medical school. I have heard the "nice" (recruiter) take on UMOs and this forum has been a fantastic resource to get the real deal. I have my eyes set on the UMO route but reading the recent post on SDN I feel as though many current UMOs and those in training would not recommend this route. So my question to all of you out there, Would you recommend the UMO route, even though there are the negative already stated downsides? If not would you recommend FS or GMO? If you would recommend it, what can I do over the next few years to get into the UMO program. All of your advice is much appreciated!
 
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I would not recommend the UMO community unless you really wanted to be a radiation health offcer and work in the submarine community. That is what 2/3 of the UMO's do. The majority of the dive billets are filled by second tour guys/gals and they tend to extend and trade among themselves. If you are not lucky enough to get a dive billet first tour, it's hard to get one later.

If I could do it over again, I would have gone flght surgeon. The vast majority of my friends who went are happy with their unit and location (they know that they're going to a flight billet when they graduate, which is already an improvement over us). Also, their specialty leader seems to be more caring and approachable. I'm leaning toward going flight after my first tour and getting as far away from the UMO community as possible.
 
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First and foremost, let me tell you about myself. I am currently a UMO at NEDU, I am 1 year into my first tour. I met most of the members of the current UMOC class while they were in Panama City. I am quite disturbed that there are current UMOC's that are so disgruntled that they feel the need to come to a public forum and discourage prospective UMO's. How long have you been in the community? Oh, you have 2 months left... really? Are you in a position to make a judgement on the UMO community as a whole? I think not. Sure, there are some things that can be changed for the better. For instance, billeting has become more and more of a cluster it seems as each year passes culminating in the current class being told they are pre-assigned and will have no control over anything, as well as no access to any "hooyah" UMO billets. That stinks and I totally agree, that is a discouraging aspect of UMO training... and it has been since the beginning of the program but it is something we all have to learn to deal with, we are after all, military physicians and we all know that billeting is due to the needs of the navy, not the needs of the individual. This is no different in the flight surgery or FMF communities. Billets are assigned, not chosen... some leeway is given for member wishes, but the needs of the navy outweigh all individual concerns for any billet.

Now, there are a few things I'd like to address but first, to Bubbles, I see what you are trying to say and I agree with you on many aspects, however I will leave the debate as for the "badge hunters" vs. true practitioners for another time....

1) Billets - it's true, about 2/3 of the billets are with submarine squadrons or clinics. Generally, these are looked upon as less than desirable. I have had the good fortune to experience both a diving billet and a submarine billet (albeit briefly) while I was covering for a UMO at an NSSC. Every billet is what you make of it. I love my current job and I absolutely loved my time at the submarine squadron. It helped that it was in Hawaii, but the job itself was extremely rewarding. I worked a lot, but I also got to do a lot of medicine which was outstanding.

Each job presents unique challenges and experiences that are invaluable. Almost every UMO billet provides the opportunity to get out and work with/dive with a dive locker in the area, even at the submarine and clinic jobs. Contact the people currently in these jobs before you present false information. Most of these people are very happy with their billets and have made the best of them.

Now, I must totally disagree with the original post. Submarine and clinic jobs are absolutely not a "waste." Working in these areas can be very rewarding. In fact, nowhere in the UMO community will you have the opportunity to directly affect the readiness of our forces as you will at a submarine squadron. Sure, you will see more patients and do more paperwork but there are many aspects that are to be relished such as training IDC's and working hand in hand with line commanders to get their people back to the boats. Sure, it's not considered a "hooyah" diving billet, but I assure you, you will make a difference and have immense job satisfaction if you want it.

2) Physical standards/Training - Some of the previous posters are correct, there is a huge demand for UMO's right now. This comes in part from the Navy's desire to transition away from the practice of using non-residency trained physicians out in the fleet. Less people are being accepted for training and more billets are taken away every year. This critical shortage makes it absolutely necessary to get as many UMO's through as possible. Now I agree, the standards have been "relaxed" at times by the dive school trainers, and to some of us that takes away from the prestige of the position. That's fair, and to some extent, I agree. However, how many physicians can say they went through Navy dive school, dove several special rigs and were trained by some of the most professional dive instructors in the world. I am sorry that you didn't receive the bottom time you think you deserved, do you really contend that someone who goes through a PADI certification that maybe gets more bottom time diving SCUBA on a reef is more qualified than yourself? If so, I fear for the future of the UMO community. Remember, we are not working divers out turning wrenches, we are here to support the diving/undersea community and all of their MEDICAL needs. I am confident that the training all of us received at NDSTC is far and away the best dive training in the world. There is a reason allied countries send their divers to NDSTC for training. There simply is not a more professional or outstanding school anywhere.

3) Military Bearing - For those of you who think it is 99% about being a good doctor, I think you have missed the point of being a military physician. I agree, we must all maintain a standard of excellence in our primary position, to provide excellent medical care to the war fighters and wrench turners. However, we are also officers and therefore should be held to the same standard as other officers. This feeling of entitlement that has been fostered makes me sick. Just because we are doctors does not mean we should get a pass on being a good officer too. If you really feel that way, maybe you should re-examine your commitment to the military.

I don't really know what else to say. I am deeply concerned that the morale of the current UMOC class is so low, I hope that the two that have posted in this forum represent the minority and not the majority. I also hope that these disgruntled few try to reach out to some current UMO's before further bashing the community they are about to join.

For prospective UMO's, I think if you talk to 95% of current or past UMO's, all look back on their experiences favorably. You will never have an opportunity to be trained as a navy diver and be in such a unique position to do some really wonderful things. True it's not for everybody, but if you've got a sense of adventure and keep a good head about it, you will enjoy your time as a UMO. Good luck and please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

[email protected]
 

Gastrapathy

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3) Military Bearing - For those of you who think it is 99% about being a good doctor, I think you have missed the point of being a military physician. I agree, we must all maintain a standard of excellence in our primary position, to provide excellent medical care to the war fighters and wrench turners. However, we are also officers and therefore should be held to the same standard as other officers. This feeling of entitlement that has been fostered makes me sick. Just because we are doctors does not mean we should get a pass on being a good officer too. If you really feel that way, maybe you should re-examine your commitment to the military.


[email protected]
1. You advise talking to old UMOs. Good plan, except times have obviously changed.

2. The 99% comment was mine, so I'm going to respond:

Go F yourself if you think you have any right to question my commitment to the Navy. You work in a CONUS dive unit. How many sea service deployment ribbons do you have? Your job may be fun and cool but we are fighting two wars and I bet you haven't done ****. You disparage the UMOCs because they are new to your community. Guess what bigshot, you are new to the Navy. Talk to me in a decade about commitment or at least after two real deployments.

BT

Being a good doctor is 99% of being a good military doctor. This is precisely why we are getting away from GMOs (like you). There is no conflict between being a good officer and being a good doctor and its people who think they are the latter at expense of the former who hurt patients. This isn't entitlement, its a higher standard. Its HARD to be a good doctor. If you don't think so, you aren't one.


3. They aren't bashing anything and their posts are helpful to people trying to decide what to do. Frankly, any Navy physician who really wants to contribute should go greenside. There aren't many cheesy clinic billets over there.

4. If you really see no difference between the highly desirable dive billets and a sub base clinic billet, switch places with one of these guys. Call you detailer and offer to swap. Or is it possible that you, like everyone else, covet a dive billet?
 
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notdeadyet

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I am sorry that you didn't receive the bottom time you think you deserved, do you really contend that someone who goes through a PADI certification that maybe gets more bottom time diving SCUBA on a reef is more qualified than yourself?
As a diver, yes. Classroom times means very little. Dive time means a lot. How many hours of didactics doesn't make the surgeon like how many surgeries does.

I'm reading the DMO thing with interest, as it almost pulled me Navy side. But if the posts above are true about the training, I wouldn't think much of it in terms of "dive training" and expecting actual Navy divers to respect it is far fetched. As a civilian dive instructor, I can say with confidence that after two dives, folks are barely learning how to not be a danger to their buddy, regardless of the amount of topside training.
 
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1. You advise talking to old UMOs. Good plan, except times have obviously changed.

2. The 99% comment was mine, so I'm going to respond:

Go F yourself if you think you have any right to question my commitment to the Navy. You work in a CONUS dive unit. How many sea service deployment ribbons do you have? Your job may be fun and cool but we are fighting two wars and I bet you haven't done ****. You disparage the UMOCs because they are new to your community. Guess what bigshot, you are new to the Navy. Talk to me in a decade about commitment or at least after two real deployments.

BT

Being a good doctor is 99% of being a good military doctor. This is precisely why we are getting away from GMOs (like you). There is no conflict between being a good officer and being a good doctor and its people who think they are the latter at expense of the former who hurt patients. This isn't entitlement, its a higher standard. Its HARD to be a good doctor. If you don't think so, you aren't one.


3. They aren't bashing anything and their posts are helpful to people trying to decide what to do. Frankly, any Navy physician who really wants to contribute should go greenside. There aren't many cheesy clinic billets over there.

4. If you really see no difference between the highly desirable dive billets and a sub base clinic billet, switch places with one of these guys. Call you detailer and offer to swap. Or is it possible that you, like everyone else, covet a dive billet?
Wow, I obviously struck a nerve there... I'm not going to turn this into a pissing match in a public forum. If you want to continue to attack me personally, you have my email. We can even chat on the phone if you'd like.

I honestly think we may be arguing the same thing. I agree, there is no conflict between being a good officer and a good doctor. In fact, this is part of the draw to military medicine, balancing excellence in medicine as well as being a military role model to juniors (enlisted and officers.)

Back to the topic at hand... of course dive/specwar billets are the more coveted and "sexy" commands. I even agree with the original poster in that the UMO billeting process absolutely sucks, and it has only gotten worse recently with this current class. As a result, morale is very low. However, as I tried to point out before, going to clinic and NSSC billets is not such a bad thing. Sure, you won't be diving every day, but honestly, even those of us at diving commands don't dive very often! Our job is to be a doctor, not a diver/operator! I hope that the UMOC's reach out and talk to CURRENT UMO's before deciding that such and such a billet sucks cause it's not a diving/specwar billet. There really are a lot of great things happening at these billets... opportunities for IA, diving, submarine ride time and hooyah diving are everywhere, you just may have to work harder to find them.

For the UMOC's: please don't publicly trash the program before you have even graduated. Most of us who are out doing the job are very happy, regardless of what billet we are at. Give it a shot, if you don't like it, you only owe two years to the community. Also remember, 2nd tours happen all the time and generally tend to be at some of the better billets.

The UMO community is a small and elite group. For the most part, UMO's are hard charging and driven people. We get the opportunity to support some of the most elite forces in the world, be it submarine, diving or specwar. Some billets are better than others, that is the nature of the beast. But every billet has been deemed critical by the Navy to be filled by one of us. Even the most non-descript clinic billet is very important as it directly supports the needs of the operational navy. Take pride in that, at the very least. Hold yourself to a higher standard than the average medical officer. We aren't just doctors, we are UMO's.
 
Apr 26, 2010
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As a diver, yes. Classroom times means very little. Dive time means a lot. How many hours of didactics doesn't make the surgeon like how many surgeries does.

I'm reading the DMO thing with interest, as it almost pulled me Navy side. But if the posts above are true about the training, I wouldn't think much of it in terms of "dive training" and expecting actual Navy divers to respect it is far fetched. As a civilian dive instructor, I can say with confidence that after two dives, folks are barely learning how to not be a danger to their buddy, regardless of the amount of topside training.
There is a lot more time on compressed air than the original poster insinuates. I believe he is referring to the lack of open water diving as they only had opportunity for 4 open water dives. When I went through, I think we did 6 open water dives, several pier side and countless hours in a pool. Also, we receive 6 weeks of instruction prior to starting the dive phase where basics such as snorkel, mask clearing, treading water, ditch/don procedures are taught. It is much more rigorous than was implied...

Yes, we are Navy divers. Are we expected to be working Navy divers? No. We are, however, expected to be diving MEDICAL experts. Dive phase training is only 9 weeks. During that time, students are brought from basics to advanced instruction in SCUBA, hard hat and MK20 diving as well as receiving orientation to MK25 and MK16 rebreathers. Add to that the advanced instruction in diving casualties and treatment... it is a classroom heavy course. Dive school is meant to make us proficient at diving, not expert divers. Obviously you get more experience after dive school which is why we are required to dive at least two times quarterly to maintain proficiency (and dive pay).

I myself did not take a civilian dive course but several of my colleagues have. They unanimously praise the training at NDSTC as far beyond any civilian training they may have received. We also must pass all the same standards that every navy diver does, including treading water with tanks and the diver PT test.

Maybe I'm wrong as I haven't taken a civilian course, but I don't think it's fair to compare the two types of training.
 

IgD

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...I am quite disturbed that there are current UMOC's that are so disgruntled that they feel the need to come to a public forum and discourage prospective UMO's.
It's web 2.0. Dissent may be unpleasant for some but I think it can help drive improvement and change in the system. The other thing is this type of discussion offers an opportunity for networking and mentoring.

...Billets are assigned, not chosen... some leeway is given for member wishes, but the needs of the navy outweigh all individual concerns for any billet.
If you review those detailer PowerPoint presentations there are slides that say the detailer's responsibility is to balance the needs of the Navy against the needs of the service member. Sure what you said is 100% true. The leaders have a responsibility to know their doctors and look out for the welfare of them and their families. The problem occurs when there is a perception this isn't happening. What troubled me above is when the leader was alleged to have refused requests to talk privately. That doesn't seem right to me. Maybe the billets were distributed as fairly as possible but the leader could have handled it in a different way.

...do you really contend that someone who goes through a PADI certification that maybe gets more bottom time diving SCUBA on a reef is more qualified than yourself?
I have no experience first hand with UMO training but I completed about 10 PADI courses and the training was vigorous and well organized. Maybe the military should cut costs by using PADI:)
 
Apr 27, 2010
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So we have a situation where our specialty leader/detailer has the social graces and people skills of a grapefruit.
All we current UMO's can do is outlast this out of touch elitist old guard and take back our community leadership. This will take some time, but it will happen.

To current and prospective UMO's, I offer you this:
Having kept in touch with everyone one of my UMOC classmates, I can tell you that 11 out of 12 of us our completely satisfied with our current jobs. Most do not involve diving. Heck, even the guy who got "screwed" and sent to saratoga springs for some ridiculous reason LOVES it there.
Even at a dive billet, I have gotten wet ONCE [in a pool!] in the past year, but I @#$%ing LOVE my job because I completely buy into my mission of keeping my patients healthy and deployable and training my staff to be the best damn corpsmen they can be. Thats the fun part of it! It does not matter if its NSSC, LOGSU, Groton, or Kingsbay. We are in a position to genuinely help the line.

To the graduating class, recognize that there is a better than 90% chance that you are going to love your next job. Smile. Its not nearly as bad as it seems.
 

BOHICA-FIGMO

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BUMOC & LeviKK,
while I appreciate some of your points, and agree it is critical to maintain and protect the health of our sub/dive/spec ops guys; I suspect that instead of swimming in seawater, you guys have been swimming in KoolAid! Dive billets really need to have significant underwater exposure on a regular basis in order to obtain an appropriate understanding of the environment the community we support is working in.

As a PADI certified Dive Master with >100 logged dives (albeit just air and NITROX, no tri-mix or other deep stuff), I suspect that I will have more underwater experience PRIOR to undergoing UMO training than most UMOs will receive in a CAREER! Call me crazy, but that is sad, just sad.
 
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BUMOC & LeviKK,
while I appreciate some of your points, and agree it is critical to maintain and protect the health of our sub/dive/spec ops guys; I suspect that instead of swimming in seawater, you guys have been swimming in KoolAid! Dive billets really need to have significant underwater exposure on a regular basis in order to obtain an appropriate understanding of the environment the community we support is working in.

As a PADI certified Dive Master with >100 logged dives (albeit just air and NITROX, no tri-mix or other deep stuff), I suspect that I will have more underwater experience PRIOR to undergoing UMO training than most UMOs will receive in a CAREER! Call me crazy, but that is sad, just sad.

Bohica - I appreciate your insight, and while I agree, it would be nice for us to be constantly diving, it's just not in the cards. We didn't go to medical school in order to come out and be used as operators/working divers. I would agree that you need significant underwater experience on a regular basis, however maybe our definitions of significant differ a bit... we are required to get 2 dives quarterly to maintain quals. Most of us would love to get more time, but we can't always swing it. Now, many of us do get much more time than that, it's just a matter of molding your schedule to fit your "professional development" activities!

Your experience diving PADI is significant, not everyone can become a Dive Master and log >100 dives. I don't think it is sad that you have more civilian dives logged than most UMO's get in their careers (most UMO's do two years as their career, then go back to residency). Diving with the military is very different than diving civilian. I suspect if you logged ALL hours diving civilian/military of each UMO, the numbers would look more respectable.

Either way, again, our job is not to be an operator/working diver. We are here to support them medically, period. Everything else is just gravy...

Are you applying for UMO? Make sure you let the guys at the dive school know how experienced you are with PADI when you get there... :)
 

notdeadyet

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Diving with the military is very different than diving civilian.
Agree with this. Military divers are some of the best I've dove with. I've taught some folks fresh out of Navy Dive training and they were very respectable even at that level of training.

That said, there is NO WAY these Navy Divers had two or four ocean dives under their belt. I have a hunch their dive training is a lot more intense.

It's all semantics, but I'd be VERY uncomfortable calling myself a "Navy Diver" having graduated the UMO course if it involved two or even four open water dives. Two dives doesn't qualify you to rent tanks at Sandals...
Make sure you let the guys at the dive school know how experienced you are with PADI when you get there... :)
Boy, I wouldn't recommend pulling that on a Navy Dive Instructor. I have a hunch they've had hundreds of dives in very nasty conditions.

But a UMO? No problem. It's hard to tell a "no $hit, there I was..." dive story when you have two under your belt.

Sad...
 
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Agree with this. Military divers are some of the best I've dove with. I've taught some folks fresh out of Navy Dive training and they were very respectable even at that level of training.

That said, there is NO WAY these Navy Divers had two or four ocean dives under their belt. I have a hunch their dive training is a lot more intense.

It's all semantics, but I'd be VERY uncomfortable calling myself a "Navy Diver" having graduated the UMO course if it involved two or even four open water dives. Two dives doesn't qualify you to rent tanks at Sandals...

Boy, I wouldn't recommend pulling that on a Navy Dive Instructor. I have a hunch they've had hundreds of dives in very nasty conditions.

But a UMO? No problem. It's hard to tell a "no $hit, there I was..." dive story when you have two under your belt.

Sad...
No UMO will claim to be a better or more experienced diver than a working navy diver.

We are doctors, trained as divers and trained to be the experts on diving casualties. It is a very rewarding job and one of the best I've ever come across in the navy, regardless of billet.

Obviously, some in this thread want nothing more than to disparage the UMO program, that is fine; everyone is entitled to their opinion. Even within the Navy, there are dissenting opinions about the program, it's nothing new.

For prospective UMO's, please don't take all these negative posts as fact. People with actual knowledge of the program really love it. It's a great experience and I don't regret it for a second. If anyone has any questions or would like to get in touch with anyone in the program, please feel free to email me: [email protected]

For the rest of you, remember, when the crap hits the fan and a serious diving casualty happens, us "poorly trained divers" are the ones who get the call. Hooyah UMO!
 

IgD

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Obviously, some in this thread want nothing more than to disparage the UMO program, that is fine; everyone is entitled to their opinion. Even within the Navy, there are dissenting opinions about the program, it's nothing new.
I don't agree with that assessment at all. I thought the concerns passed on were validated and legitimate. I think it's important to understand what the Navy medicine work environment is before you join.
 

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I don't agree with that assessment at all. I thought the concerns passed on were validated and legitimate. I think it's important to understand what the Navy medicine work environment is before you join.
I agree with IgD.

I feel that most people following this thread were very surprised to learn that new UMOs had as little input in choosing their billets as an E-1. This really comes across as very poor treatment of O-3 physicians.

The second major surprise was the lack of open-water time in dive training. This was only partly offset by Levikk's assurance that the nine-week phase includes many detailed elements in hard hat, MK20, MK25....etc. But even this cannot erase our surprise at learning of the limited open-water time.

The more experienced UMOs on this thread have provided many useful comments, but these two concerns from the OP remain.
 
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I agree with IgD.

I feel that most people following this thread were very surprised to learn that new UMOs had as little input in choosing their billets as an E-1. This really comes across as very poor treatment of O-3 physicians.

The second major surprise was the lack of open-water time in dive training. This was only partly offset by Levikk's assurance that the nine-week phase includes many detailed elements in hard hat, MK20, MK25....etc. But even this cannot erase our surprise at learning of the limited open-water time.

The more experienced UMOs on this thread have provided many useful comments, but these two concerns from the OP remain.
Agreed. This is a common misconception with the UMO program. Some people go into it believing they will be utilized not only as a doctor but as a diver. To some extent, this does happen. UMO's have gone on to become dive supervisors and get tons of bottom time at their respective commands. But again, this is not our main responsibility. If you go into this thinking you will be primarily a diver and then a doctor second, you will be disappointed.

As far as the lack of open water diving... keep in mind folks, "real" navy dive school (2nd class divers) which is 5 months as opposed to our nine weeks is also very limited in their open water dive time. They do get more time, but not a significant amount more than us. They spend more time doing underwater salvage, welding, mixed gas and rebreather diving than we do. Our course is extremely accelerated, we do certain topics 2 - 3x as fast as they do, which saves time so every topic can be covered in the shortened class period. We also get a two week intensive diving casualty/treatment course at the end of the dive phase.

My point is, dive school, even for 2nd class "real" navy divers is not meant to make them diving experts. That is the responsibility of their follow-on command to get them the necessary experience and training to become true experts at their field. The same can be said for UMO's when it comes to diving, we just have to be more pro-active in seeking out diving opportunities as it is not our primary responsibility.

Again, when all is said and done, our primary job is in medical, as it should be.

Saipan, as far as billeting concerns, I agree with you. It is very concerning and some of us are actively trying to get this changed. In the end though, everyone usually ends up being happy. Our specialty leader's methods may not be completely understood, but he usually does a very good job of placing people in billets they will thrive in. He definitely does take into account family concerns first. I think some of the earlier posts by the current class came out of the frustration of not having any communication, which is totally understandable. Just so you know, they just received their billets and from what I hear, most of them are very happy.

I hope this helps answer some questions, please feel free to ask anything, I will check this thread daily and answer everything to the best of my abilities.
 

BOHICA-FIGMO

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Make sure you let the guys at the dive school know how experienced you are with PADI when you get there... :)
Sure, I just love getting smoked and have a target on my back the whole class! :rolleyes:

Nice try, though. No hard feelings! :)
 

61November

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In response to Levikk:

You said that when a diver gets injured, you get the call. What exactly does that mean? Are you actually diving down to get them? Or waiting to receive them on the dive platform?

Please enlighten a non "hooyah" Flight Doc
 

pgg

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In response to Levikk:

You said that when a diver gets injured, you get the call. What exactly does that mean? Are you actually diving down to get them? Or waiting to receive them on the dive platform?
Probably meeting them at the ER where BC physicians do their thing and then reporting back to the CO.

That is the lot of a GMO in CONUS.

At most, BLS transport to the ER where the BC physicians can do their thing, followed by a status report to the CO.
 

AF M4

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Probably meeting them at the ER where BC physicians do their thing and then reporting back to the CO.

That is the lot of a GMO in CONUS.

At most, BLS transport to the ER where the BC physicians can do their thing, followed by a status report to the CO.
Damned skippy. As a one year wonder GMO, the biggest thing that will protect your patients and keep you out of trouble is proper disposition. The first question on your decision tree should be: can I reasonably handle this patient and all possible complications in my clinic? If not, your next and only responsibility is to facilitate the movement of your patient to more appropriate (read: people with actual training) care.
 

XXBlockheadXX

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I feel obligated to share with SDN my current experience in the UMO training program. I apologize for the pessimism, but morale is a little low. We have finished the “dive phase” and have accomplished all of the practical evolutions. All that's left is classwork in diving medicine and radiation health. Just a couple of things...


1) Billeting: No dialogue has been allowed and the process seems to be secretive. All of us came hoping for either 1) a high-speed / diving billet like EOD, Seals, MDSU, or Marine Recon or 2) co-location with family. None wanted a sub billet. The specialty leader, who is solely in charge of billeting, has discouraged communication. We have been told repeatedly NOT to contact him about billeting and how it relates to our career goals and/or family. We were allowed to submit a short Bio (1 paragraph) that was emailed to him, but we received no feedback. Last week, he sent word down the chain-of-command that billets have been assigned to each of us and all were sub or clinic jobs. However, our billets won't be released to us at this time. The UMO detailer declined to provide any insight and referred us back to the specialty leader, who we are instructed not to contact.


2) Diving: The “dive phase” is over. We had 2 open-water scuba dives and 2 open-water surface supply dives for a total bottom time between 1 and 2 hours. Some of my former co-interns now in Flight School have dove more than I have in the last 4 months. I wouldn't expect to become a proficient diver unless you get a dive billet or are a civilian diver.

Other classes have had better experiences with both billeting and diving and this is likely unique to our specific class. Nevertheless, this has been our experience.
>>>>> This is demoralizing information for this student of July's UMO class. Can you share the locations of class 101's billets and when you found which ones would be possibilities? Thanks.