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Afloat Training Group Pacific Puts Boxer to the Test

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070521-21
Release Date: 5/21/2007 4:36:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) James Seward, USS Boxer Public Affairs

USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Boxer (LHD 4) completed Afloat Training Group Pacific’s (ATGPAC) Unit Level Training Assessment-Sustainment (ULTRA-S) May 18, evaluating Boxer’s ability to train its crew members and respond to emergencies.

Over the course of the three-day process, Boxer Sailors and its training teams were assessed on the ship’s damage control, force protection, medical and combat systems capabilities and ability to defend the ship using scenario-driven drills.

“ULTRA-S is part of a continuous cycle that not only shows where we stand in our training, but also allows new Boxer Sailors to become familiar with their responsibilities aboard a combat vessel,” said Lt. Cmdr. Bob Saunders, Boxer’s Damage Control Training Team (DCTT) leader.

As part of the ship’s combat systems assessment, Boxer’s Combat Systems Training Team (CSTT) presented different scenarios which challenged the crew to defend the ship from missile, rocket, mine and small boat attack.

“Overall the ship did exceptionally well throughout the various evolutions,” said Boxer’s Integrated Training Team Leader, Cmdr. Chuck Sellers. “Everyone was well prepared and motivated, and that says a lot coming off of a double-extended deployment.”

During the damage control assessment, Sailors manned repair stations, responding to casualties and damage inflicted by the attacks such as fires, flooding and toxic gas.

“These drills are a great way to see where our skills are at as a ship,” said Boxer’s Assistant DCTT Coordinator, Senior Chief Damage Controlman (SW) Mark Geer. “We take these very seriously. Shipboard damage control can save lives. We need to know that we have the ability to save the ship.”

ULTRA-S assessed and reviewed Boxer’s training capabilities and provided feedback to the ship in areas that they excel in and areas that need improvement. The feedback will be used to create a training plan to help ensure future success.

“Our assessment of Boxer is that it is one of the leading ships on the waterfront in damage control,” said ATG Assessor, Senior Chief Machinist’s Mate (SW/AW) Ed Taygon. “Methods and procedures can always be improved upon, but Boxer’s crew has shown that they are a very capable and professional team.”

The largest and most complex evolution during the assessment was a Total Ship Survivability Exercise, used to integrate the defensive, combat and repair capabilities of Boxer.

The exercise simulated the ship being hit by multiple missile attacks which required the integration of Boxer’s damage control, combat systems, engineering, medical and force protection teams. The assessment of the drill reviewed the ability of the teams to respond to the casualties and work together to save the ship.

“I could not be more proud of the way the crew displayed their talents,” continued Geer. “All of our teamwork and hard work has paid off to earn this certification, and now we can head home and get some well deserved time off.”

Boxer is in the final weeks of its Western Pacific deployment and will return to its homeport of San Diego by June.

Boxer, commanded by Capt. Bruce W. Nichols, is part of the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group, operating out of San Diego, Calif; which is currently under the operational control of Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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