As a limited duty officer in the U.S. Navy, you were once a superbly skilled senior enlisted person. The Navy recognized and promoted you to officer status because of your performance and leadership qualities. Your job -- your officer billet -- parallels your enlisted career group and offers management opportunities in every Navy environment, from a warship's deck department to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
Limited duty officers work in the same field they worked in when they were enlisted personnel. Opportunities in surface warfare include deck management, surface operations management, engineering or hull repair. Naval Special Warfare offers limited duty officers the opportunity to continue their work with SEAL, Special Boat and diving personnel. Ordnance specialties offer the opportunity to blow things up with ships' weapons systems and underwater demolitions. Surface warfare jobs include a variety of electronics specialties, as well.
In addition to opportunities aboard surface ships, enlisted personnel who are qualified submariners can advance to limited duty officer positions beneath the sea's surface. Submarine opportunities for limited duty officers include engineering and hull repair management, which includes management-level work with nuclear reactors and reactor containment areas. Limited duty officers assigned to submarines can also work in ordnance, a field that includes all of a submarine's weapons systems, from missiles to torpedoes. Other jobs lie in the electronic systems specific to undersea warfare and submarine communications.
If it can be done from the air, it's a job for naval aviation. Limited duty officers in naval aviation can serve in air operations, managing operations on the ground or at sea. Those who have aeronautical specialties, such as photography or intelligence, can serve as members of aircraft crews. Limited duty officers can also serve in aircraft maintenance or maintenance management at sea or ashore. Limited duty officers who, as enlisted personnel, worked in air traffic control, can continue in that specialty, managing naval aviation air traffic control operations.
General Line Officers
Limited duty officers can hold staff administrative and management positions, working directly for the Navy's most senior commanders. They manage the Navy's nuclear power programs and the administrative aspects of surface warfare and information systems. They can serve as local, district or even regional recruiting officers, managing programs that keep the Navy staffed. One, the Navy bandmaster, leads the U.S. Navy Band. Limited duty officers can also manage service-wide intelligence and naval information warfare programs. Limited duty officers can administer the overall aspects of naval aviation ordinance, air traffic control, oceanography and surface warfare programs.
Limited duty officers fill many critical staff positions in the Navy. They work in supply, where they that ensure the materials required for naval operations arrive on-time, every time. They manage the civil engineering programs that ensure Navy port facilities in the United States and abroad meet the Navy's operational requirements. Limited duty officers who were legal specialists as enlisted personnel can manage administrative programs, such as office staffing, for the Judge Advocate General's office. Although they aren't attorneys, they continue to ensure the mechanics and administrative aspects of the Navy's legal system operate smoothly.
Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.