USS STERETT, At Sea - As of May 15, crew members aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) were nearly halfway to their Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification target of 104 Sailors by the end of deployment.
Since leaving San Diego, Dec. 7, 2011, 45 Sterett Sailors have earned their ESWS qualification or re-qualifications.
The chief petty officers' mess and the first class petty officers aboard Sterett set a goal of qualifying or re-qualifying 104 Sailors before Sterett returns to its homeport later this year, a figure that matches Sterett's hull number.
The ESWS designation signifies that a Sailor has acquired specific skills, knowledge and experience necessary for the successful performance of their duties aboard a surface ship.
"The ESWS qualification is a major milestone in a Sailor's career," said Fire Controlman 1st Class Shane Phillips, one of the program's coordinators. "Our training plan is designed to allow our Sailors to make the most of their time on deployment and to return to San Diego as qualified surface warfare specialists."
To help Sterett achieve her goal, ESWS co-coordinator Chief Boatswain's Mate Jose Lira and Gas Turbine System Technician (Electrical) 1st Class Juan Dominguez joined Phillips to develop a training plan. Daily ESWS training is coupled with weekly divisional and departmental training to provide Sterett's ESWS candidates with numerous opportunities to earn their qualifications. Each training session is led by a subject matter expert who has logged more than 1,000 hours of deployed training, and usually includes a lecture, discussion and a walkthrough of each specific system or piece of equipment.
In early April, Sterett became eligible to fly the ESWS pennant on her mast. The pennant can only be flown on ships with no Sailors delinquent on warfare qualifications.
"Our ESWS coordinator, Chief Lira, and his assistants have developed and executed a great training plan," said Sterett Command Master Chief Chris Benavides. "Qualifying 104 Sailors is an aggressive number, but I am confident that we will achieve our goal before we return to San Diego later this year."
Sterett and guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92) are currently deployed with Destroyer Squadron 9, part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, which also includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 and the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71). CSG 9 is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and combat flight operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.