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Boxer Working to Certify Damage Control for Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080331-09
Release Date: 3/31/2008 1:07:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Porter Anderson, USS Boxer Public Affairs

USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Boxer (LHD 4) Sailors conducted a mass conflagration drill March 28 to give Sailors an opportunity to practice damage control in a combat scenario.

The drill was the culmination of a series of exercises throughout the week designed to push Boxer Sailors to the edge of their abilities in order to certify the ship for future deployments.

"I like the drills," said Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Robert Newland, a Boxer repair team member. "The drills really show me how to act when everything gets chaotic, and how to prepare for the real thing."

The drills gave Boxer Sailors a chance to develop and sharpen their skills on damage control and casualty scenarios that could be encountered while forward-deployed.

"Regular GQ [General Quarters] and a drill are totally different," said Chief Boatswain's Mate (SW/AW) John Pompey, damage control training team (DCTT) member. "During the real thing, we act on the instincts we all gain from the training. We fight like we train."

Regular drills help Boxer Sailors keep their skills honed, so on forward-deployed operations they can be ready for anything.

"These drills are important," said Ensign Jess Poniatoski, repair locker leader. "If we don't pass, we can't get certified to deploy."

To grade a ship on its damage control training, Afloat Training Group sends expert Sailors to evaluate Boxer's DCTT on how they train Sailors across the ship.

"Boxer is performing well and meeting the requirements," said Chief Damage Controlman (SW/AW) Ron Beltowski, DCTT coordinator and ship's fire marshal. "The crew also stays enthusiastic about the drills we run."

The DCTT manages damage control training and prepares realistic scenarios for Boxer Sailors to develop necessary skills to practice saving the ship.

"They give us real-life scenarios that we may encounter," Poniatoski added. "Many of us have been in real situations when there was a chance of attack. It's comforting to know that we trained for that."

The DCTT focuses on challenges the ship may face, and tailors drills to educate Sailors on how to respond should those situations arise.

"Damage control-wise, Boxer is readying for deployment," said Beltowski. "We must be prepared for anything that can come our way."

Boxer is scheduled for further evaluations in April to prepare for a future deployment.

For more news from USS Boxer, visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.



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