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Truman Prepares for Deployment by Fit Testing Gas Masks

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100416-15

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary D. Montgomery, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At sea (NNS) -- The crew of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) has been conducting gas mask fit tests to prepare for its upcoming deployment. Gas mask fittings are an important part of mission readiness, and are conducted regularly aboard every Navy warship.

"I have fit tested 3,433 Sailors to date," said Damage Controlman Fireman Duane J. Laughlin from Davenport, Iowa. "We do five tests to ensure a proper fit; normal breathing, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, moving your head up and down, from side to side, followed by a gum chewing motion."

During the first few weeks a group of civilians administered the fit tests. They gradually trained the ship's damage controlmen in the operation of the testing equipment and how to run the tests.

"The civilians were great to have on board. I took their training and learned everything I need to know about these tests," Laughlin said. "The transition was rough but I believe it was beneficial to the DC-men [damage controlman] and Sailors."

To do the tests, a Sailor dons a mask and checks for a seal with the palm of his or her hand. A test administrator then places a framed bag over the top of the Sailor's head. After that, the five tests begin.

The bag fills up with an aerosol mist made from mineral oil which creates a chemical, biological and radiological-type environment. If the mask leaks, a machine will alert the administrator, the test will fail and a new mask will be tested.

"It's about mission readiness," said Laughlin. "Somebody's life is more important than the time it take to conduct these tests."

Truman will continue the fittings until 100 percent of the ship's company is tested, properly fitted, and mission ready.

Truman is scheduled to deploy late this year with the Truman Carrier Strike Group 10. The strike group is comprised of the USS Normandy (CG 60), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) and German Frigate FGS Hessen (F221).

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