Military News

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blue Ridge Concludes Patrol, Completes Key Damage Control Certification

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Liz Dunagan

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, May 17, wrapping up a 35-day patrol and the successful completion of the Mobility Damage Control Warfare (MOB-D) assessment.

The final leg of MOB-D began once Blue Ridge departed The Republic of Singapore, May 8, and continued throughout the transit back to CFAY. Afloat Training Group (ATG) Western Pacific assessed the Blue Ridge crew's proficiency in responding to casualties and keeping the ship afloat in a simulated combat situation.

"This is one of the few certifications that involve 100 percent of the crew," said Blue Ridge Executive Officer Cmdr. Nathan Fugate. "Everyone was enthusiastic and the crew performed excellently. Our crew worked hard, and you couldn't ask for much more."

According to Senior Chief Damage Controlman Christopher Langteu, an inspector from ATG, for a ship to receive a MOB-D warfare certification the crew needed to pass all drills with a score of 80 percent or higher.

"Blue Ridge was able to apply all the training they received as individuals and use it as an integrated team, working together to complete the mission," said Langteu. "I watched the crew grow leaps and bounds from where they were at the beginning of their training."

MOB-D is broken up into multiple stages spaced out over several months. The first two stages consist of an initial material readiness review of damage control equipment, then an assessment of basic damage control fundamentals such as fire hose handling, pipe patching and erecting shoring to defend against structural damage.

During the third training stage, ATG guides Blue Ridge's Damage Control Training Team (DCTT) and the crew through a series of drills covering fires, floods and toxic gas leaks along with chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) attacks.

"In the event of a casualty, DCTT and ATG need to know our Sailors can successfully overcome any situation," said Damage Controlman 1st Class Joni Abando, Blue Ridge's DCTT coordinator. "The crew earned the certification working hard as a team and paying close attention to detail."

Everything learned throughout MOB-D culminated in a final assessment where ATG observed members of DCTT facilitating 29 total drills for all the damage control repair lockers including a general quarters scenario.

"We got to apply all of the training that we worked so hard to learn," said Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Bryan Slaton, a Blue Ridge crew member and repair party team leader. "Those drills have the potential to turn into real life situations. The training is hardwired into our brains now, and I feel like its second nature."

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