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BM1 Austria MSTCPAC Instructor in the Spotlight

Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Bryant Jay Tucio Austria, a native of Seattle, Washington, joined the Navy in January, 2008 and arrived on Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 2) in October, later that year as a brand-new Sailor, newlywed and first-time father 17 years ago. Little did Austria know what a whirlwind of a journey his Navy career would become.

Austria did not originally come from a military background, but he chose to follow in his brother’s footsteps as he was an electronics technician (ET) in the Navy and he really looked up to him, and the rest is history after that.

Prior to being an instructor at the Boatswain’s Mate (BM) schoolhouse at Mariner Skills Training Center Pacific (MSTCPAC), he came off sea-duty with what seemed like a stagnation in his career at the time. At this point, BM1 had taken the First Class Petty Officer Exam 17 times between the years of 2012 through 2023, but as many Enlisted Sailors will confirm, passing, and even scoring well on exams does not guarantee a Sailor advancement. Naval advancement is heavily based on quotas, and a rate that is severely impacted may not see a single Sailor advance for many years.

BM1’s resiliency is what got him through his setbacks – turning adversity into fuel for motivation. He adopted a mantra of “through consistency and growth, you can be [the] change [that you want to see], and rank will follow. With BM’s, a lot of it [has to do with being in] the right place at the right time,” said Austria.

In the schoolhouse, Austria does not only focus on teaching junior BMs, but he also works on the motivational piece and a focus on mentorship – having students outline their goals in both their professional and personal lives. He wants to emphasize the importance of realizing Fleet culture can improve fleet culture can improve and motivate more Sailors to stay in for the long haul.

One of the major complaints BM students seem to voice is the lack of communication between their chain of command within their divisions back at their primary place of duty. From last minute tasking, to repetitive, redundant, and mundane tasking, to a lack of consistent vision among leadership, frustrations can run rampant within a division, hindering the skillset development and motivation of Sailors. This is where it is extremely crucial for E-5s and E-6s to consistently fill in that leadership role and be the liaison between the junior Sailors, the chief, and the division officer. This will help bridge the communication gap and get everyone on the same page when it comes to tasking. This is a big communication piece that Austria also focuses on during his lessons making sure all Sailors have a voice.

“If you see something, say something,” he said. “If you have a good idea or a suggestion of improvement/efficiency, say something. It often takes a fresh set of junior eyes to catch something more senior personnel may be overlooking or have missed, and that is the beauty of the Navy being such a melting pot. At the end of the day, we all want to be on the same sheet of music and that is what will take us to success.”

BMs are a tremendously diverse group of Sailors from so many different backgrounds, but comradery is what ultimately brings everyone together.

Austria is extremely grateful for the experience he has had over the last 17 years, and though the technical in-rate knowledge presented in classes is very important, the development of a stronger purpose – a “why” behind serving in the Navy – is also vital to the development of the next generation of Sailors. Hence what made his frocking to BM1 on the MSTCPAC auditorium that much more of tremendous surprise and extremely special.

MSTCPAC was established on October 1, 2020 and its mission is “to ready sea-bound warriors to serve on surface combatants possessing the shiphandling and navigation skills to fulfill the Navy’s mission of maintaining global maritime superiority.

Source : DVIDS

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