As the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) goes through this critical maintenance period the crew is working hard to maintain and gain qualifications that will give them the ability to protect the ship when she returns to the fight.
Training in the yards can be lack luster due to the condition of the ship. With wires, pipes, and tubing running through out the ship performing drills can be difficult and inefficient. But, that is no excuse for Sailors to not be properly trained.
Damage controlmen assigned to Nimitz teamed up with Navy Region Northwest (NRNW) Federal Fire Battalion 1 for a live firefighting simulation at Jackson Park, March 25, 2015.
The two teams fought the fire in an advanced fire-training simulator called a Fireblast, which recreated a couch fire, rack fire and rollover that covered the ceiling in flames.
Damage control training held on board the ship cannot be nearly as hands on as the training that Sailors can receive at a live firefighting simulation.
“We did some stuff we weren’t able to do onboard, getting into a hot scenario where they can get the basics of working with water management, heat stress and lots more,” said Damage Controlman 1st Class James Ringlbauer.
The simulator was as close to an actual live fire situation as possible without having a fire in an uncontrolled environment that these Damage Controlmen will ever get to experience.
“They actually get to see flames and feel the heat instead of going into a compartment with a smoke machine and someone waving flags,” said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Timothy Morgan. “That way when they’re in a real situation they’ll have experience.”
With new Sailors arriving on board each day and others moving on to new duty stations the Nimitz crew is constantly changing.
“It doesn’t matter if one of our Sailors has been on board for a week or a year, they need to have the same competency and same attitude ready to take charge in the event of a casualty,” said Ringlbauer.
The downtime in training could be a hindrance to the ship when she gets back out to sea. The participation in the firefighting simulation aims to combat that. Not only does it make our first line of defense, damage controlmen, prepared and experienced but also allows them to share their first hand knowledge with Sailors new and old.
When Nimitz gets back out to sea and training is kicked into high gear, there will be well-trained and experienced damage controlmen to train the Sailors aboard the ship, making Nimitz ready for anything she may encounter.
Story by MC3 Holly Herline and MC3 William Blees
Photos by MC3 William Blees