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Blue Ridge Scores High On FEP Evaluation

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070402-22
Release Date: 4/2/2007 5:27:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charles Newcomer, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) pulled into its homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, March 23, after completing a regularly scheduled underway period, the crew received word from then Commanding Officer Capt. Jeff Bartkoski of Blue Ridge’s successful completion of their Final Evaluation Problem (FEP).

FEP is an evaluation conducted every 24 months to certify the crew’s ability to integrate training teams while reacting to real world situations and casualties. Afloat Training Group (ATG) Western Pacific worked in conjunction with the ship’s company in order to report to the ISIC (Immediate Superior-in-Command) that Blue Ridge is “Warfare Area Certified.” Drilling scenarios were developed to test the ship’s ability to react as a whole to realistic combat situations.

Blue Ridge’s Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Hill praised the efforts of the crew in both the training and evaluation process.

“Each training team was evaluated as effective in their ability to integrate with each other and assess the watchstanders they were responsible to evaluate,” said Hill. “The crew demonstrated their pride and professionalism in every event that the training team placed in front of them. After completing the successful FEP, you could really tell that the crew felt they were ready for any mission placed in front of them. It was truly an amazing feeling to see the ship come together to support each other to complete the events.”

Blue Ridge’s damage control, engineering, medical, combat systems, seamanship, and force protection training teams blended together to complete all FEP developed training objectives in a variety of real world scenarios encompassing many of the asymmetrical threats facing today’s Navy Sailor.

“One of the final casualties we took as part of a FEP drill was when our Close In Weapons System (CWIS) mounts went down due to a simulated ruptured fire main,” said Herring. “This required the damage control training team to respond by utilizing the repair lockers to restore the fire main in order to provide cooling water back to our CWIS mount, getting that weapons system back on line to defend the ship for the remainder of the drill.”

Whether in drills combating fires during general quarters, observing radar contacts, manning gun mounts, or treating injuries for a medical mass casualty exercise, Blue Ridge Sailors were put to the test, displaying skills learned and practiced through
year-round training to show the ATG evaluators what they could do to protect the ship and save lives.

What makes FEP unique is the realistic drill scenarios that force all the departments to integrate and participate simultaneously. As a member of the combat systems training team, Chief Fire Controlman (SW) Leon Herring, explained how integration and cooperation with other training teams became the “meat and potatoes” of the FEP drill scenarios.

By totally integrating all of the ship’s training teams, the FEP evaluation gave every Sailor in ship’s company a chance to show how dedication and teamwork pay off when harkening to the call of duty. Every Navy Sailor has a duty to maintain a baseline knowledge of emergency First Aid treatment to help their shipmates when they need it the most. Members of the medical training team on board Blue Ridge trained and evaluated crew members throughout the FEP process, ensuring that they were ready to be first responders.

“I think one of the great benefits the crew got from going through the FEP process was that our young Sailors on board got a chance to see that we can do it,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW) Lenelle KirkPatrick. “We can sustain the ship in order to carry out our mission and still be dedicated to caring for the lives and injuries of the crew, and that is what it is all about.”

Blue Ridge is commanded by Capt. David Lausman and serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Blue Ridge is the flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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