Wednesday, October 28, 2009

USS George H.W. Bush Air Department Maintains Mission Readiness

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Daniel S. Moore, USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Air Department continue to train and keep essential warfighting skills sharp although they live and work in a shipyard.

"We are in fact keeping with the Navy's vision of training, and I do believe we have taken the proactive steps to exceed those standards," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) (AW/SW) Anthony J. Alexander, the leading chief petty officer of Crash and Salvage. "We've taken advantage of every training opportunity."

Many members of the Bush Air Department trained alongside members of USS Carl Vinson's (CVN 70) Air Department, performing aircraft firefighting and rescue drills aboard Vinson Oct. 20. The Bush Air Department will also train with the USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) Air Department in the future.

"It ultimately means that the Bush is performing the same training as the Vinson, the Roosevelt, and etcetera." Alexander said. "In the big picture, it means that there's standardized training throughout the fleet, that means that everybody is on the same page."

When training aboard Truman, Sailors will perform drills with the Mobile Aircraft Firefighting Trainer, a trainer aircraft that is set on fire to simulate aircraft firefighting.

"Our crash team is always ready to go and our Air Department is ready to go," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Michael P. King, a crew member of Bush's Air Department's V-1 Crash and Salvage Division. "The training that we are doing now is just brushing the dust off."

According to King, the Bush Air Department frequently sends Sailors to other ships to gain experience during "on the job" training and improve the department.

"The baseline is to establish a foundation of training and get us in an operational mode to be prepared to deploy," said Chief Warrant Officer Larry Dean, Bush's air boatswain. "In the future, what we will do is intensify our training to a point that when we have our own assets aboard the ship. We will be able to go out and actually perform those tasks that need to be done."