- Reaction score
As far as backfill for steward jobs: NPF for messes, light cooking (breakfast), meal service for the wardroom and special functions, all are smart serve qualified for functions, casualty clearing team, canteen, cleaning officer cabins and wardroom.
Most of those jobs can either be eliminated (cooking, meal service), filled by another trade (NPF), or are also done by other members of the ships crew (smart serve for functions often done by other sailors, casualty clearing team can be anyone with the training, canteen is half voluntary from other trades most of the time, cleaning stations).
Casualty clearing was, in my experience (years and years past), the primary justification usually put forth as the "military" requirement for continuing to have stewards on Canadian warships. Yes, all the functions above listed could be handed off to other trades but the sense I get is that a lot of those hospitality service functions will either be eliminated or consolidated/centralized as ship designs change and traditions fade. If those functions are assumed by other trades, there will likely be the expectation that those positions (bodies) will also be reduced. Steward was perhaps the only trade that was not necessary in fighting a ship, save for the casualty clearing role during battle (sorta like the mythical regimental bandsmen). They were usually the only available source of manpower whose primary job was not necessary/performed during battle. And casualty handling is a manpower intensive function.