The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completed Phase III Crew Certification, October 15-16.
Phase III Crew Certification focused on how Ford’s medical and damage control training teams accomplished necessary crew training needed to return the ship to sea. The two-day training evolution tested each team individually and together in order to assess the crew’s availability to respond to personnel and material casualties at sea.
Lt. Ryan Gorell, the ship’s nurse, oversaw the training of Ford’s Medical Department during the crew certification process, said that Crew Certification III was an evaluation of how the crew trains to be medically ready to save personnel on the ship.
“Crew certification is a large constructive criticism on how we are doing and how we can move forward safely and productively,” said Gorell.
Medical response training included a dual-medical readiness team scenario, departmental drills in which a simulation casualty needed first-aid response. Other scenarios included stretcher-bearer rodeos to train personnel assigned to Ford’s 10 repair lockers and six battle dressing stations, and response during a General Quarters training evolution.
“We continue to find the best ways to coordinate the medical department with the rest of the crew, training helps us identify the deficiencies that we have,” said Capt. G. Merrill Rice, the ship’s senior medical officer. “During training, we make the evolution as real as possible so that Sailors learn the proper ways to respond added stress.”
Ford’s Medical Department used the Crew Certification as a method to improve all aspects to medical training.
“I’m confident in my medical training team, and the medical department as a whole to pass and to respond to any medical causality aboard the ship,” said Gorell. “We were excited for drills, and what Crew Certification had to offer. I’m looking forward to more training and learning more about Ford as we move forward and get out to sea.”
Damage Controlman 1st Class Samuel Price, assigned to Ford’s Engineering Department, said that Ford was assessed in a range of casualty drills, non-damage control personnel response, and how well the damage control training team has prepared the ship as a whole for any damage control situations that may occur at sea.
“Atlantic Training Group is looking at us and seeing if we’re looking fit to go back out to sea and take care of the ship, that’s what this certification process means,” said Price.
Atlantic Training Group provides valued training to Carrier Strike Groups, Amphibious Readiness Groups, Marine Expeditionary Units and independent deployers in order to conduct maritime missions among the range of military operations.
“It’s important in understanding that firefighting and survivability of the ship is everyone’s responsibility, and the Damage Controlmen have a big role in making sure we’re all trained for any situation,” said Master Chief Electrician’s Mate Harold G. McMillian, Engineering Department’s Electronic Division Master Chief.
“This crew certification shows us where we stand in as far as protecting the ship, shows where we lack, and that way we can train and can always get better for next time,” said McMillian. “That way when it’s time for us to deploy, the ship is safe and protected.”
Gerald R. Ford is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new aircraft carrier designed in more than 40 years. Ford is currently undergoing its post-shakedown availability at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding.
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Zachary Guth, USS Gerald R. Ford