One thing I learned in my many years in the Navy (never mind which navy) is that young officers are useless without the knowledge and experience of senior NCO's to back them up. Most of them never give credit due to the "subordinates", though. Very often an officer is someone who gives orders that he himself is incapable of carrying out - especially true in the Navy, which relies more on technical than fighting skills.
Seems like Lt. EE finally got assigned to beautiful Boca Raton, FL as this was the only military installation that taught RADAR. Still, he demonstrated the ultimate in engineering thinking during his time aboard the LST. An engineer can command a ship with the help of some salty Chiefs.
Aside from Lt. EE's ability to think like an engineer, he had the soft skills to identify and persuade key people to help him: "As the crew reported, he found a few sailors that had sea experience with whom he could confer." My guess is this had more to do with his success on the seas than his furious reading of manuals.
When my Father-in-law was an EE student, a relative arranged a temporary job for him at a machine shop, where he was supposed to design drill jigs. The relative told the boss that the new employee was a student, but forgot to mention which kind of student. So my father-in-law set about doing the tasks he was assigned as best he could, making mistakes on the way, while his more senior colleagues mentored him. One day one of the electrical machines in the shop stopped working and my father-in-law suggested he try and repair it. "What do you know about electricity"? asked his boss. My father-in-law explained to his suprised employer that he was an ee student, not a mechanical engineering student. Nobody has guessed. It proves that 90% of being an engineer is knowing how to THINK like an engineer.
You're 100% correct Bert. I am ex-Army and I remember being told once (after whining about a particular reassignment) that the Army is not a summer camp, and you go to where you're most needed. It worked out well for me, and I learned things I would otherwise never have tried.
These are inherent characteristics of an engineer. It is life of learning new technology and applying your current knowledge. Lt EE has done wonderful job. I too have worked in so many different fields but I now like to do these thing again.
I can tell you right now. That other LT EE, even if he was not an EE, was sent to the radar school, read the training manual, was given lesson plans, and taught radar.
This is really not an unusual story for the military. I'm also a EE, went through NROTC while in college, probably much like your LT EE, and I put in my preferences that I wanted "engineering" or "communications" assignments.
After graduation and commissioning, I was sent to a 3 month course, then put in charge of steam turbine engines, steam turbine generators, and boilers, on a guided missile destroyer. Not exactly what I thought I signed up for. And all the other generic stuff officer do, like drive the ship, or stand watch in the combat information center, main control, or what have you.
The Navy puts people where they are needed. If you think you know nothing about the new job, rest assured, you'll get trained. And rest assured too, as a junior line officer, you don't get the opportunity to actually design anything. That's not what the Navy put you there to do.