Damage control drill

The pre-commissioning crew unit (PCU) of the US Navy’s new aircraft carrier, Gerald R Ford (CVN 78), has conducted the first all-hands general quarters (GQ) damage control drill on-board the vessel.

The exercise was undertaken to certify the crew before being deployed to combat real-time emergencies.

Damage controlman 1st Ryan Vanderstouw said: "This GQ was a major milestone for Ford because it pushes the ship significantly forward in preparation for Crew Certification 2 and being able to get the ship underway and out of the shipyards.

It allows departments who don’t normally work together a chance to become a team

"With Crew Certification 2 and Crew Certification 3 coming up in the future, we have to get everyone qualified and get everyone trained up and demonstrates to inspectors that we have what it takes to take the ship to sea and be successful during any hurdles we may encounter out there at sea."

The GQ exercise involved conducting training with damage control and medical training props, as well as simulated emergency scenarios on-board the ship to assess the crew’s response capabilities.

Damage controlman 1st Class Letitia McKelvey said: "GQ is a meeting of the minds.

"It allows departments who don’t normally work together a chance to become a team. They build teamwork and learn how to rely on each other for help."

Additionally, the exercise will equip the crew with skills to serve as fire department, hospital and any other emergency response personnel when required.

It also aims to foster team spirit among the crew members, which is believed to be crucial once they assume the responsibility of performing comprehensive shipboard activities at sea.

Image: Ford’s Damage Control Training Team conducting firehose training. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Joshua Murray/Released.