Chief Gunner's Mate instructs Gunner's Mate 2nd Class how to cycle 5-inch rounds in Mount 51.
PACIFIC OCEAN - Chief Gunner's Mate Alfredo Estrada, right, from Afloat Training Group San Diego, instructs Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Jaqueline Barajas how to properly cycle 5-inch rounds in Mount 51 aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) during a limited training team. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Ronald Dujinski/Released)
Afloat Training Group San Diego Provides Timely Training
SAN DIEGO - Afloat Training Group (ATG) San Diego has conducted a 300 percent increase in Limited Training Team (LTT) visits to Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) commands since 2008.

The increase in LTT visits is a reflection of ATG San Diego's redefined work flow process to "train, assess, train, certify," replacing the old process of "assess, train, certify."

The new process allows ATG to strengthen its relationships with operational commands, providing them with structured training, tailored to ship-specific discrepancies.

"ATG is here to work with ships 365 days a year to ensure we are training to the standard. We are focused on Planned Maintenance System and zone inspection verbatim compliance - it's about getting back to the basics," said Capt. David F. Matawitz, commodore, ATG Pacific.

Additional training plays a huge role in preparations for and successful completion of the Unit Level Training Readiness Assessment (ULTRA) for SURFPAC ships. LTT's provide ship-specific tailored training by warfare area, which allows ATG to establish a training team with the appropriate skill set for the ship's needs.

"We are working hard to create a 'team work' mentality," said Lt. Justin Searle, ATG San Diego training liaison officer (TLO). "We're here to help and make sure that ships can do the best that they can."

ATG works with ship's to co-develop a training schedule of events that ensures effective use of resources and improves the efficiency and consistency of training, providing shipboard training teams with the same tools and standards used by ATG assessors.

Since the push for increased and more relevant training occurred in June 2008 when Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, commander, SURFPAC, lifted all LTT restrictions for SURPAC training, shipboard performance in ULTRA events has improved by more than 100 percent, said Matawitz.

SURPAC ships have gone from meeting 30 percent of their certification requirements at ULTRA in 2006 to meeting over 70 percent of requirements in 2009.

"The LTT works well; it's very specific. Ships want this training, and they don't hesitate to ask for it," said Lt. Francisco Garza, ATG San Diego TLO for USS Jarrett (FFG 33).

Jarrett's crew took full advantage of LTT availability prior to their ULTRA certification from Jan. 25-29, resulting in 75 percent completion of certification requirements.

"We're always doing continuous training, always trying to improve ourselves, and ATG provides us the tools we need to be successful," said Lt. j.g Travis Bateman, Jarrett's training officer. "Overall, it's been a great experience; ATG has been a great resource."

Increased interaction between ATG assessors and ships builds stronger working relationships, making the crew comfortable with ATG assessors and assessors more accessible prior to certifications.

When ATG makes early contact with ships, training teams are able to identify resources for increased efficiency, which ensures the crew is receiving the proper training the first time around. ATG has made a concerted effort to push trainers out to the ship, to provide as much training as possible.

ATG San Diego's commitment to providing dynamic, quality afloat training continues to adapt to new challenges, ensuring the fleet is better prepared for any and all future operations.

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