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Essex Picture Perfect Certification

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070217-09
Release Date: 2/17/2007 4:41:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeremy L. Wood, USS Essex Public Affairs

USS ESSEX, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Essex (LHD 2) participated in a five-day certification phase for amphibious warfare operations Jan. 24-29 off the coast of Sasebo, Japan.

Eight amphibious warfare inspectors, from Naval Beach Group 1 (NBG 1), San Diego embarked Essex for the certification. They examined all aspects of single-ship amphibious operations. The certification was required to ensure Essex was ready for tasking as the Navy's only forward-deployed, amphibious assault ship.

"It was picture perfect," said Lt. Cmdr. James Smith, training and readiness officer for NBG 1, during the certification out-brief.

"What we do is come aboard, assess the proficiency of the ship and the training teams, like the boat team and the combat team," said Smith. "For example, with deck department, we make sure the seamanship team can plan, execute, and review well-deck operations with various landing craft."

"The attitude on Essex was extremely positive," said Senior Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Don Myers, landing craft air-cushioned (LCAC) specialist. "The Combat Information Center boat control was the best I've seen."

During each phase, there was an inspector with a checklist observing the teams for operational and procedural mistakes.

"Often, you see the big picture with the LCAC's or LCU's (Landing Craft Utility) coming in the back of the ship," explained Smith. "There are a million-and-one things that go into it: amphibious craft-operation, mission planning, personal protection equipment, administration checks, personal qualification standards [PQS] for shipboard personnel for their particular job, and making sure the ship has all of the current instructions."

Essex passed the five-day certification phase with flying colors.

Essex is the only forward-deployed mutli-purpose amphibious assault ship serving Task Force 76, headquartered at White Beach Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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