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Engineering Underway Certification Tops Agenda During USS Bulkeley's Underway

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050624-04
Release Date: 6/25/2005 9:08:00 AM

By Journalist 3rd Class Riza Wenthe, Naval Media Center Mobile Det. 3

ABOARD USS BULKELEY (NNS) -- Departments on USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) concentrated on enhancing skill sets during their underway period June 13-17 along the Virginia and North Carolina coasts.

Topping the list of priorities was the engineering crew’s performance as they focused on their underway demonstration certification. During this training period, the engineering department engaged in many drills in preparation for certification.

Bulkeley’s Chief Engineer, Lt. Maliah Browne, said the importance of conducting such drills is mandatory to prepare the engineers in case such real-life events should occur.

“We have to prepare evolutions and drills every day, at least a couple of sets every day for both watch teams,“ said Browne. “They have to do it over and over - not only to make sure they get it right - but to show proficiency, should these casualties actually happen.”

The engineering training evolutions required long hours before and during the underway.

“The Underway Demonstration is a very demanding inspection for the engineers in which they show they can safely and effectively operate their engineering plant,” said Bulkeley’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Bryan McGrath. “They have been working ridiculously hard, and they have been performing as well as any captain could expect an engineering department to perform.”

There was a sense of pride among the engineers as they worked their long hours.

“In my experience, that’s just the life of the engineer,” said Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 3rd Class Matthew Thomas. “We’re the first ones to get [to work in the morning]; we’re the last ones to leave. There is real pride in our work. We’re the life of the ship. If our equipment is not working, then the ship’s not working.”

Other departments also conducted practice drills to prepare them for underway emergencies.

Bulkeley’s force protection division held numerous pistol qualification classes to increase the number of Sailors proficient with shooting small arms weapons.

“People are standing watches, carrying weapons that they need to know how to use properly,” said Operations Specialist 1st Class David Mackenzie, weapons department assistant leading petty officer.

Continuous training for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) was on the agenda for Bulkeley’s sonar techs. Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Jason Lavaway (SW) said ASW is a major concern.

“Without us, there’s nothing that can be found underneath the water,” the ASW division leading petty officer said. “We play a very viable asset to the ship and other warfare areas in ensuring that our transits back and forth are safe.”

While the departments worked to improve job efficiency, the entire ship trained together during a surprise man overboard exercise.

“Man overboard drills are a vital part of underway training,” said McGrath.

Chief Operations Specialist Victor Adams echoed the captain’s thoughts on the importance of such an evolution.

“Every time we do a man overboard drill, we don’t like to call it a drill,” said Adams. “We like to do it just like the real thing. We muster every time. We want to make sure we got 100 percent accountability and we force ourselves to meet that time line to pick that Sailor out of the water in seven minutes.”

Bulkeley is preparing for a six-month deployment in 2006. The Aegis-class guided-missile destroyer’s mission is to provide anti-air and anti-surface strike capability, and safeguard other ships.


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