Captain's Log: January 18, 2023

Ships Wheel

Good Morning, Followers –

Since today is Thursday, I thought that it would be a good day to talk about Captain’s Inspections.  They take place every Thursday evening.  Although the cadets have their holds inspected daily by their Hold Captains and Division Leaders, the inspections that take place tonight have even more at stake. 

Since there are many holds to inspect, I do not visit each one personally.  I am assisted by members of what we call COMCAD.  COMCAD stands for the Commandant Of Cadets.  Aboard the TS Kennedy, COMCAD oversees the day-to-day management of the cadets and everything related to their shipboard life.  COMCAD makes sure that the high standards that are expected of our cadets back on the campus of Massachusetts Maritime Academy continue here at sea.  I guess that you could say that the role of COMCAD is similar to the role that your Principal, Vice-Principal, and their administrative team has at your school. 

Cadets never know where I will show up on a given Thursday evening, but they do know that I take the inspections very seriously.  Accountability is important on a ship.  We are trying to develop a culture of responsibility.  Aboard the TS Kennedy, there are many cadets to help clean the ship.  When our cadets begin working on ships around the world, they will discover that there are fewer crew members to get the job done.  Everyone on a ship must do their fair share.

I worked aboard a chemical tanker for a Captain named George Doore.  Captain Doore always said, “A clean ship is a happy ship.”  Over the years, I have repeated his words many times to cadets and members of the crew. 

I am hardest on our rates, the 1/C cadets in leadership positions.  I believe that high standards start at the top.  The rates serve as role models for the underclassmen. 

When I inspect a hold, I am looking for cleanliness.  A messy bed, a phone charger left plugged in, or soap scum in a shower would cause a hold to fail inspection.  I sometimes discover a cookie or a bagel tucked beside a rack - a midnight snack, perhaps. I know just where to look.  Cadets have been told that food cannot be taken from the Mess Deck. 

The cadets are in uniform during inspection.  I check to make sure that their uniforms are clean and well-maintained.  Shoes and belt buckles must shine.  The length of each cadet’s hair must match the requirements for their class. 

If a hold does not pass inspection, the problem areas must be corrected immediately.  On Friday morning, these holds will be carefully inspected once again.  Holds that fail inspection on Thursday evening will be the last holds called for liberty in port. 

Think about your own bedroom.  Do you think that it could pass a Captain’s Inspection this evening?  What would you need to correct? 

What about your desk, classroom cubby, or locker?  Would one or more of them pass a Captain’s Inspection this evening?  How would you get it ready to pass?

Fortunately for you, COMCAD and I will not be dropping by your home or school.

Following the inspections, cadets will gather on the Helo Deck for what we call a Pre-port Briefing.  The group will be advised on how to stay safe and healthy while having fun in Barbados.  

I received a photo of colorful  anchors displayed with the flags of Puerto Rico and Barbados at Wareham Elementary School.  Wareham is the next town over from Buzzards Bay.  Crew members stopping by my office were pleased to see that our neighbors back home are excited about our first port.  

Have a productive school day!


Captain Michael J. Campbell

bulletin board with anchors and flags