The Navy Limited Duty Officer

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The US Navy maintains the largest marine combat force on the planet. The US Navy trains and equips young men to prevent hostility and preserve the freedom of the seas. The US Navy is famous all over the world as a symbol of discipline, unity and power.

The naval department is divided into 3, the Navy Executive Department, the operating forces and the Shore Establishment. Among the operating forces, the navy has divided the commissioned work force into two fields of expertise, the CWO or Chief Warrant Officer and the LDO or Limited Duty Officer. The LDO and CWO officer programs both involve active duty and comprise of the Select Reserve Personnel.

The LDO is senior military personnel, who is of a higher skill rating and is favored to become a commissioned officer. CWOs differ from LDOs only on the scale of authorative responsibility. Personnel opting for the LDO job could be a CWO, Petty officer of first class or Chief petty officer. Active duty of 3 years is a necessity for a CWO applying for the designation of an LDO. Any Qualified person may apply for both LDO and CWO, simultaneously. The person needs to have leadership quality, basic required military qualifications and technical proficiency.

Separate selection boards, made up of veteran navy personnel, meet at the Navy Personnel Command, to consider candidates for the active and inactive duty LDO curriculum. If a commanding officer feels an individual is not qualified for the LDO designation, the commander simply does not forward the persons name.

The person is also required to have a good moral character and should have no record of penal action under Article 15 of U.S. military rules, no Court Martial expulsion or civilian conviction or conviction by a civil court for misdemeanors in the past 3 years, as on 1 October of the year of application. Any drug or alcohol abuse will result in disqualification and is liable to be considered as a criminal offence.

An LDO is also supposed to have the educational knowledge and experience in geological science, submarine warfare technology and aviation warfare. The LDO needs to exhibit resource-management qualities amidst staff corps and thus needs to be classified after sea warfare training, under CWO Surface Warfare, CWO Submarine Warfare, CWO Aviation Warfare and CWO Staff Corps. A CWO selected as a LDO is appointed in the permanent grade of LTJG of the Navy.

A newly recruited LDO is assigned as Division Officer or as a Technical Assistant, though a LDO cannot control a carrier or battleship. The LDO can also land in an onshore position. Warrant Officers or Staff Officers are always in their combat uniform, except in an offshore navy manuever. An Unrestricted Line Oficer and an LDO wear similar uniforms, with their ranks displayed on the sleeve.

A LDO and URL differ only in terms of age and combat experience. An LDO will often be seen wearing ribbons and warfare medals earned for his experience while on off shore warfare duty.The medals earned are not valour medals, but are good-will medals given to an LDO as a token of appreciation for his long term service.