– USS Antietam (CG-54) and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) hosted a Deck Systems Mini-camp for surface ship Sailors, training organizations, and shore maintenance activities in San Diego, June 20-24.
The event conducted by personnel from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), and coordinated through ATG San Diego, is a five-day training evolution designed to help Sailors strengthen their knowledge of operational procedures and maintenance requirements on boat davits, anchoring systems, underway replenishment systems and life lines.
“This training will help the Sailors learn how to maintain and operate their equipment more efficiently,” said lead coordinator, Cmdr. James Smith of ATG San Diego. “We want Sailors to thoroughly understand what the maintenance requirements are for their equipment, which can help them succeed in future inspections such as the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV).”
Nearly 70 Sailors went aboard Antietam and Wayne E. Meyer to observe four days of training.
“Some Sailors observed and others conducted operational demonstrations under the watchful eye of NAVSEA experts. Sailors will not only operate the equipment in a normal mode, but they’ll be conducting it in emergency mode too,” said Smith. “Emergency operating procedures are something ships don’t regularly cover. The Sailors on the deckplates will benefit tremendously, because they will be better prepared for casualties and material/equipment assessments.”
NAVSEA experts are on both ships training Sailors the proper way to maintain and operate equipment systems.
“We have the Navy’s experts on all these various deck systems, and they’ll explain in detail all the proper maintenance and operating procedures,” said Smith. “These experts from NAVSEA are showing the crew what to look for as far as equipment discrepancies, and where they can find the references to correct the discrepancies.”
Deck Mini-camp is a forum where participants can hone their skills in deck seamanship while focusing on safety.
“Every time you do an evolution you learn something new about a safety hazard or safety precaution that can lead to us having safer evolutions in the future,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class (SW) Jason Steele. “We don’t get this kind of training every day, so for us to have this opportunity to learn more about our job and ways to prevent hazards is good. Our ship will benefit from it.”
Methods of learning vary from person to person. Being able to learn by doing seems to work for these Sailors in this situation.
Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class (SW) Victor Olarte said, “Boat operations are very dangerous evolutions and there are Boatswain’s Mates who do not know the proper procedures. This training allows us to be hands-on with the equipment. I would rather learn this way.”
The Deck Mini-camp began in Norfolk, Va. and expanded to San Diego. They have now been held on other U.S. Naval bases including Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Sasebo, Japan.
For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit