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CVN 77 Completes Crew Certification

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS121203-07

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin J. Steinberg, USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) went through a mandatory certification phase in November to ensure they were combat ready and proficient in fighting the ship.

The Sailors led their ship out of the 2012 Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) on time Nov. 29.

The certification came in two phases. Typically, there are three phases to a crew certification but due to George H.W. Bush's short time in the yards, the first phase was not required.

"Crew certification phase two was more administrative," said Lt. Cmdr. Tricia Cronau, the ship's Training Officer. "The purpose of this phase is to see how our operations, training and basic level of knowledge are across the ship."

Phase two was conducted, Nov. 9 and consisted of the crew taking level of knowledge (LOK) exams. The exams were used to test the ship's proficiency in first aid and damage control.

"Phase three consisted of emergency drills set during simulated emergency underway operations to assess and certify that the crew and the ship are ready to return to sea," said Cronau.

Phase three took place Nov. 19 and 20 and determined that the ship's crew can combat basic emergencies, damage control emergencies and medical emergencies along with sea and anchor operations.

Typically, a ship has two to three months between phases two and three to prepare and be ready. George H.W. Bush's crew, however, was given 10 days. This meant the ship had a very busy and sometimes hectic schedule to complete everything on time while finishing the ship's maintenance and everyday shipboard operations and responsibilities.

"Overall, there were a few hiccups but we were on a compressed schedule so the crew has really done well under the stress of trying to meet our PIA timeline; the compressed timeline to get all of our events done; and to get out of the shipyards to return to an operational environment," said Cronau.

Cronau stressed that the ship and its crew reached a major milestone in completing the maintenance period on time.

"The completion of crew certification in such a short time is a testament to the crew and training teams' ability to stay flexible and ready to respond at a moment's notice," said Cronau.

"It's an all hands event. It's not just our damage control training teams and our medical personnel- it's an assessment of the entire crew," said Cronau."It's a team sport and the whole crew has got to be ready to fight the ship."

George H.W. Bush is entering its training and qualification cycle in preparation for a 2013 deployment.

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