George Washington Crew Certified Ready for Sea 
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Cavagnaro, USS George Washington Public Affairs  
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) was certified ready for sea after successfully completing Crew Certification Phases II and III, May 2.

Crew Certification is a five-day process where the Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) ensures a ship is ready to proceed safely to sea with a trained and qualified crew following an extended repair period. This on-ship inspection included a review of command training, required ship's bills and watch team replacement plans (WTRPs), along with evaluation of drills.

"I'm extremely proud of the hard work and dedication shown by the crew during our selective reserve availability period to prepare the ship for our upcoming patrol," said Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington's commanding officer. "Our Sailors proved they're motivated and ready to take the ship underway by completing Crew Certification."

Afloat Training Group Western Pacific (ATGWP) conducted an evaluation of emergency and non-emergency drills conducted at sea including general quarters drills, fire drills, medical-emergency drills, and sea-and-anchor detail.

"During drills, we're looking for enthusiasm and proficiency in the Sailors to see if they understand the processes of treating patients and administering basic first aid," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Mark Vidale, an Afloat Training Group Western Pacific (ATGWP) inspector. "It's apparent through the inspections that the Sailors have been training hard to get the ship ready to go underway. I feel that we could blow the whistle right now and send [George Washington] out to sea."

Making the drills as realistic as possible was a priority. Simulated smoke, live fire hoses and Sailors being used as mock casualties added to the authenticity of the exercises.

"The reason for the drills is to gauge the capability and efficiency of the crew in emergency and normal everyday operations of the ship," said Damage Controlman 1st Class Walter Dailey, from Norfolk, Virginia. "The goal behind crew certification was to increase our Sailors' proficiency through casualty response. Unexpected events can occur underway and I believe that our crew proved they can handle any situation that might come their way."

George Washington is currently at its forward-operating location of Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, making preparations for its 2014 patrol.

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
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