By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Raney, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- As summer approaches, many people prepare for days at the beach, playing sports, grilling out in the back yard, vacations and many things that involve relaxing and enjoying time in the sun. Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), however, are preparing to receive an education.
Lincoln Sailors are currently preparing to register for Navy College Program for Afloat Education (NCPACE) courses set to begin late in June. This is the first time NCPACE has been available since Lincoln entered its refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) in 2013.
"NCPACE gives Sailors another option to receive an education while in the shipyards," said Ensign Sheena Hunt, Lincoln's education services officer (ESO). "I receive 10 to 15 emails a day asking about the program so I know the Sailors are excited to get involved and pursue their education and I'm even more excited that I can help them reach their educational goals."
NCPACE offers participating Sailors opportunities to receive education from institutions accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the Department of Education. The objective of NCPACE is to provide shipboard personnel with educational opportunities comparable to those available to shore duty personnel. Tuition is funded 100 percent. Students are only responsible for the cost of textbooks and related materials.
"Part of the reason I joined the Navy was to get an education," said Airman Ryan Socha, an undesignated Sailor stationed on board Lincoln. "I wanted to be able to go to school and not rely on my parents to pay for it."
As Lincoln gets closer to the end of its RCOH, emphasis is being placed on ensuring Sailors are able to achieve personal as well as professional goals. Providing these courses is just one way Lincoln leadership is helping the Sailors achieve these goals.
"My chain of command is really supportive in allowing me to take time to register for this," Socha said. "After my duties as an undesignated airman, this takes priority."
There are two types of NCPACE courses available to Sailors, instructor led (IL) or distance learning (DL). IL courses are taught by resident instructors for ships with available berthing. DL courses are provided to commands through CD-ROM, PDA, or IPOD. All undergraduate courses are from institutions with Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges-Navy (SOCNAV) affiliation, ensuring Sailors the opportunity to transfer credits and complete degrees. Lincoln will utilize both formats to better accommodate each Sailor's individual learning style.
"Continue to step outside the box and never stop learning," Hunt said. "Pursue the next level, the more you learn the more you can better yourself as a person and a Sailor."
Lincoln is currently undergoing RCOH at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz-class to undergo an RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone.
Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.