Faces of MSC: William Ramos

The following blog is by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Luis R. Chavez Jr, NPASE-EAST Det. Europe.

Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2014, the largest multinational naval exercise in the Baltic region this year, took place June 6 – 21. U.S. 6th Fleet’s command ship, USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), became a hotbed of activity with receptions and visits from high-profile guests including foreign military officials and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus frequenting the ship’s daily activity. 

BALTIC SEA (June 14, 2014) - Ship's Boatswain William "Chulo" Ramos, a Military Sealift Command (MSC) civil service mariner assigned to USS Mount Whitney (LCC20), watches over the MSC civil service mariners on the flight deck during Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2014. Now in its 42nd year, BALTOPS is an annual, multinational exercise to enhance maritime capabilities and interoperability, and to support regional stability. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Luis R. Chavez Jr.)

BALTIC SEA (June 14, 2014) – Ship’s Boatswain William “Chulo” Ramos, a Military Sealift Command (MSC) civil service mariner assigned to USS Mount Whitney (LCC20), watches over the MSC civil service mariners on the flight deck during Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2014. Now in its 42nd year, BALTOPS is an annual, multinational exercise to enhance maritime capabilities and interoperability, and to support regional stability. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Luis R. Chavez Jr.)

 With all these events on board Mount Whitney, every inch of the deck has to be squared away, including the reception area and the flight deck. This coordination falls in the hands of one Military Sealift Command’s civil service mariner (CIVMAR). His name is William Ramos, and he’s the ship’s boatswain aboard Mount Whitney.

William “Chulo” Ramos, was born in South Bronx, New York. He joined MSC after a friend told him about what the command offers, and the great opportunities he would have as a CIVMAR. Ramos has now sailed with MSC for nearly 21 years.

“One of my friends told me MSC was a great job and opportunity, I’d be able to see the world, and make good money,” said Ramos, who like most CIVMARs, spends eight to 10 months a year working aboard ships forward-deployed around the world. “I miss my kids but I like the opportunities of this job and I love sailing.”

Ramos joined Mount Whitney’s hybrid crew of 146 CIVMARs and 157 U.S. Navy sailors in March 2014. Aboard Mount Whitney, CIVMARS are responsible for the deck, engineering and supply departments, while the uniformed Navy is responsible for the communications, medical and weapons departments. As ship’s boatswain, Ramos runs Mount Whitney’s deck department, leading 10 percent of the CIVMAR crew aboard. 

BALTOPS 2014 (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Luis R. Chavez Jr.)

BALTOPS 2014 (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Luis R. Chavez Jr.)

 “I am in charge of two boatswain mates, 14 day workers and nine watch standers,” said Ramos. “My job is to keep the main deck maintained. I also fill the role of safety officer during flight operations, to make sure that everyone on the flight deck is squared away.”

Ramos said that for Mount Whitney’s CIVMARs, the most physically challenging days of BALTOPs are reception days. The requirement to build a reception area from the bottom deck to the main deck of a warship is a difficult task.

SECNAV’s visit to Mount Whitney yielded a lot of preparation and work for Ramos and his crew.

 

KARLSKRONA, Sweden (June 7, 2014) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus stands with Capt. Craig A. Clapperton, Mount Whitney's commanding officer, after an all hands call. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Luis R. Chavez Jr.)

KARLSKRONA, Sweden (June 7, 2014) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus stands with Capt. Craig A. Clapperton, Mount Whitney’s commanding officer, after an all hands call. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Luis R. Chavez Jr.)

 

“When the SECNAV visited the ship, we spoke for a bit when I met him,” said Ramos. “He told me I did a good job and thanked me for making the ship look presentable. It was a great feeling to be given thanks by someone as important as him.”

“I love this job and I appreciate all the opportunities it has given me, and to be able to travel and support my family,” he said. “I will keep striving to move up to higher positions, and hopefully in the end become one of the officers for MSC. I give thanks to my kids and my parents for the support they’ve given me these past 21 years.”

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