Friday, January 27, 2012

Navy Advances Electrical Protection for Shipboard Sailors

From Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communications

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Sailors aboard U.S. Navy ships soon will have new protective clothing for low voltage maintenance work, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced, Jan 26.

A new type of coverall featuring flame resistant fabric and accompanying safety equipment will provide Sailors greater comfort and protection against arc flashes. Sailors will be able to use the coveralls like standard shipboard coveralls while conducting initial voltage verification checks, fuse removal, authorized energized work, or when an electrical circuit breaker is installed or removed.

"The new electrical safety coveralls are designed for initial voltage verification or approved work on energized equipment, and are designed to protect Sailors from inherent heat, excessive pressure," said Khosrow Moniri, NAVSEA electrical systems technical warrant holder.

Sailors can expect to use the coveralls and associated equipment such as a face shield by late spring, on board naval ships with electrical systems between 300 and 1,000 volts, such as Arleigh Burke destroyers.

The clothing compliments existing heavier and bulkier coveralls designed for high voltage verification checks on board naval ships with electrical systems greater than 1,000 volts, such as aircraft carriers.

The low- and high-voltage coveralls are rated at 12-calorie and 40-calorie (per centimeter squared). NAVSEA determined that these ratings adequately provide the required amount of thermal energy protection based on National Fire Protection Association and U.S. naval warship design criteria. The calorie/cm-squared rating represents a value of the energy necessary to pass through any given fabric to cause a 50 percent probability of a second or third degree burn.

Both types of coveralls protect Sailors against arc flashes, which occur when an electrical current passes through air gaps between ungrounded conductors or between conductors and grounded components. Use of electrical systems on board U.S. Navy ships is increasing rapidly. Accordingly, the probability of arc flashes increases as well. The blast or explosion that results from arc flash may be fatal or cause major injuries such as burns, the loss of eyesight and hearing.

"While arc flashes don't happen often, this new safety equipment represents a significant advancement in how we protect our Sailors," said Moniri.

Surface Warfare Officers School Hosts the Ship Material Readiness Course Board of Visitors

From Surface Warfare Officer School Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) is hosting a Board of Visitors (BOV) for the Senior Officer Ship Material Readiness Course (SOSMRC) in Newport, R.I. Jan. 25-27.

An annual event until the previous SOSMRC curriculum was disestablished, this is the first BOV since 1995. SWOS Commanding Officer Capt. Neil Parrott welcomed the advisory group as the meeting kicked off.

"We reestablished the SOSMRC based on the recommendation of the Surface Warfare Enterprise and the first course of the new curriculum convened in January 2010," said Parrott. "This five-week course for prospective surface ship commanding officers and executive officers is designed to improve their knowledge of material readiness requirements and improve the material condition of the fleet, two things that are vital to success during an afloat command tour."

"We are constantly improving the course and ensuring that we are teaching the most current topics to the future commanding officers of our ships," said Capt. Glenn Zeiders, SWOS department director for SOSMRC. "SOSMRC is the only course in the command pipeline to provide training on improving ship material readiness, and the BOV gives us an opportunity to brief flag stakeholders on current SOSMRC curriculum, focus areas, initiatives, statistics and metrics, measures of effectiveness, and resource requirements or shortfalls. It is a key part of validating and improving our curriculum, and we appreciate the time of so many experts from the surface Navy."

Over the course of three days, the BOV advisory group, comprised of 10 captains and commanders from commands throughout the Navy, will receive briefings on the SOSMRC curriculum and prepared recommendations for the BOV principals group consisting of seven flag officer stakeholders. Chaired by Vice Adm. Richard Hunt, commander, Naval Surface Force, the principals group will convene Jan. 27. Hunt emphasized the importance of upholding and refining a strong professional development curriculum.

"We must instill a culture of ownership, and re-establish rigor in the maintenance and material readiness process," said Hunt. "That starts with ensuring every member of the crew, from the commanding officer to the youngest Sailor on the deckplate, has a thorough knowledge of their ship's equipment and that they can repair and maintain that equipment throughout the ship's service life."

The SOSMRC BOV is slated to become a biennial event in the future.

To find out more about the SOSMRC or other courses of instruction at SWOS, visit You can also reach SWOS through Facebook, Twitter, and SWONET.

Madison Fighter Wing Airmen continue to perform at an 'Outstanding' level

Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue
115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 115th Fighter Wing is known in Wisconsin for their patriotic flyovers, but they continue to be known across the nation for sheer excellence.

For the third time in six years, the 115th has been recognized with the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (AFOUA) - solidifying the fighter wing as one of the best Air National Guard units in the country.

"This highlights that we are one of the premier units in the nation," said Brig. Gen. Joseph Brandemuehl, 115th FW commander. "It speaks to the professionalism and dedication of each and every Airman in this organization."

This includes personnel like Airman 1st Class Patrick Soderlund, of De Pere, Wis., who was recently recognized as the top Airman in the state. He's been with the unit for three years and credits his success to the culture that resonates everywhere within the fighter wing.

"I've been mentored through a culture of 'lead by example' - working with very driven Airmen, peers and supervisors, who go out of their way to help with tasks and understanding information," Soderlund said. "It's an honor and a privilege to be part of a unit that performs and operates at the level we do."

Brandemuehl emphasized the AFOUA is a collective effort of the more than 1,000 Airmen that come together, train together and execute together to keep the fighter wing running as safely and efficiently as ever before.

"These Airmen will never cease to amaze you with their performance, and they are the best in the nation," he said. "The commitment and professionalism of these individuals are really what this award is highlighting."

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, said he was extremely pleased but not surprised with the award.

"This award continues to validate the professionalism and dedication our Airmen of the 115th Fighter Wing display each and every day," Dunbar said. "It is gratifying that the Air Force recognizes what I see on a regular basis - the continuation of a 60-year legacy of excellence at the 115th."

The fighter wing's motto is "Dedicated to Excellence." Those words hold true to the legacy that continues to be written as this is the 115th's seventh AFOUA in unit history. Previous awards have come in 1980, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2005 and 2009.

This award - which recognizes the Wing's achievements from Nov 1, 2009 through Oct. 31, 2011 - speaks to the overall, and well-rounded, success of the Wing and its members. The Wing has made a significant impact on the state, nation and even across the globe during this timeframe.

Some of those accomplishment include executing 4,740 sorties equating to more than 7,000 flight hours, deploying more than 200 Airmen to 18 different countries around the globe in support of numerous U.S. led and supported contingency operations, deploying medics to Nicaragua to treat more than 6,200 patients as part of a humanitarian mission and lessening the carbon footprint in Wisconsin by embracing innovating design and technology in the realm of environmental stewardship.

There are countless other accomplishments the Airmen of the 115th have previously and continue to achieve across the spectrum of all operations on base - from logistics and personnel to mission support and operations.

Inspiring Airmen to continue performing at such a high tempo and culture of excellence could be considered difficult. Brandemuehl sees it a different way.

"I don't think it's one thing we do to motivate - I think it's the organization itself that motivates the individuals to maintain that legacy of excellence," Brandemuehl said. "These Airmen just expect that they have to live up to that high standard."