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Joint Personnel Learn About Gumby During Abandon Ship Drill

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070512-04
Release Date: 5/12/2007 11:30:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Eddie D. Harrison, Commander, Naval Forces Europe-Commander, Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

USS MOUNT WHITNEY, At Sea (NNS) -- Mount Whitney Sailors and joint embarked staff took advantage of being underway during exercise Flexible Leader 07 by conducting an abandon ship drill May 8.

Abandon ship and other safety drills are a part of standard shipboard activities that provide service members and civilians a chance to learn critical emergency procedures. Perhaps more importantly, it gives non-Navy embarked staff a chance to experience some of the more unusual elements of being underway.

“Drills like these are very important, especially for people like me who are aboard a ship for the first time,” said Army Sgt. Janette Henriquez. “If an actual abandon ship had occurred, I would have been completely disorientated.”

The Navy Sailors and civilian merchant crew of Mount Whitney explained basic survival gear including donning a “Gumby” survival suit -– information that was valuable for “old salts” and those underway for the first time.

“I thought the drill was very beneficial,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Spencer Donerson of his first-ever abandon ship drill. “I think everyone was enthusiastic and asked a lot of questions.”

Some of the questions were about the correct way to release the Mark 6, a 25-person inflatable life raft.

“I didn’t know the rafts contained so many items inside for such a small container,” said Donerson. “I also didn’t know about the maintenance part of the life raft.”

Mount Whitney and the embarked joint staff are underway participating in exercise Flexible Leader 07. Flexible Leader is a joint exercise designed to conduct scenario-based training to increase the joint speed and cohesiveness when standing up a Joint Forces Maritime Component Command in direct support of Commander, Naval Forces Europe-Commander, Sixth Fleet strategic priority to respond to any contingency.

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