By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eric S. Brann, USS George Washington Public Affairs
PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) -- Senior leaders of the Damage Control Training Team (DCTT) aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) conducted hands-on training of damage control equipment and firefighting techniques for junior DCTT members.
Junior DCTT members were assigned to different positions where they set up boundaries, dressed out in firefighting gear, handled charged fire hoses and received an advanced course on proper firefighting techniques.
DCTT members regularly train junior Sailors, but this time the trainers got the chance to learn from the ship's most experienced damage control personnel.
"I really enjoyed the training, because it gave us the opportunity to get more training ourselves," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class Nicola T. Roberts, from Philadelphia. "It allowed us to work in a different position, something we haven't done in a while. This [training] gave us a refresher and we can use this to motivate and train our teams better."
Chief Damage Controlman Timothy Spare, the ship's DCTT coordinator, explained that junior DCTT members received training in crucial parts of damage control that they are not regularly assigned. The end results are to increase the overall training team's proficiency.
"This training gave everyone a chance to use equipment that they haven't used in a while," said Spare. "We want people to don firefighting gear and use a charged fire hose. We want them to see how a hose team enters and exits. Damage control will save the ship and lives."
The training put DCTT members in different scenarios to help them hone their skills and knowledge to better teach junior Sailors.
"We [senior DCTT] are training [junior] DCTT so that they will be the best trained personnel and they will be able to help junior Sailors perform damage control techniques better," said Spare. "We want to make sure Sailors are ready for anything that could happen. It takes a lot of training and muscle memory to perform the right way. We train to fight so it becomes second nature to us."
Every repair locker aboard George Washington has a Senior DCTT member who oversees all drills and casualty scenarios that are conducted. The group is made up of those who are part of the Damage Control Division and Sailors who have the requisite knowledge and qualifications to lead during general quarters (GQ) evolutions.
"Senior DCTT members are the overall leaders for the different repair lockers," said Chief Damage Controlman Felix Renoir, a senior DCTT member. "These are people who have been part of DCTT for a long time and are very knowledgeable in damage control. Senior DCTT members share their knowledge to junior members who then train the Sailors."
The training gave DCTT members insight to what Sailors may struggle with during drills.
"We make sure they do the drills correctly and intervene only when needed, if we find a situation that is unsafe or the drill is not performed correctly," said Roberts.
Spare explained that he will stay aboard George Washington where he will continue the training. Renoir said that he will be transferring to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) where he wants to continue helping Sailors expand their knowledge in damage control.
"Every Sailor on the ship needs to be knowledgeable about damage control so when something happens, they will know what to do," added Spare.
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, are on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. George Washington will conduct a hull-swap with Ronald Reagan later this year after serving seven years as the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier in Yokosuka, Japan.