USS Chung-Hoon
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Navy Command Leadership Students Study Training Methods

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Twenty-seven of the Navy's newest command leaders received a firsthand look at how their Sailors are trained during an orientation visit to the Center for Naval Engineering (CNE) Learning Site at Great Lakes Jan. 28.

The tours are offered to prospective commanding officers (PCOs) and prospective command master chiefs (PCMCs) from Command Leadership School (CLS) in Newport, R. I., to provide a better understanding of the types of training Sailors receive in Great Lakes.

Twenty-one PCOs and six PCMCs toured various basic engineering common core (BECC) labs, computer-based training (CBT) classrooms, watched engineering students train using a diesel engine simulator and interacted with students.

"I think it's vital for the Navy's fleet leaders, especially PCOs and PCMCs to see first-hand what goes into the training for new Sailors," said Cmdr. Michael R. Curtis, officer-in-charge of CNE Detachment Great Lakes. "Not only do they get a better understanding of our current training, but we can get direct input from the front lines to make sure our training is meeting the needs of the fleet."

BECC provides engineering fundamentals and systems training for the following ratings: machinist mate, gas turbine specialist, engineman, electricians mate, hull technician, machinery repairman, damage controlman and gas turbine system electrician. The course covers engineering basics, the planned maintenance system, Navy Occupational Safety and Health standards, propulsion and auxiliary systems, pumps, valves, strainers, fuel and lube oil systems. BECC's foundation is in personal qualification standards and includes information on fundamentals, systems and watches.

"A common misconception about CBT is that students are interacting with computers as the main type of training preparing Sailors for the fleet," said Master Chief Gas Turbine System Technician (SW) Vernon Perez, the senior enlisted leader at CNE Detachment Great Lakes. "In actuality, CBT is just one mode of training for the BECC course; it also features hands-on training, use of fleet equipment, instructor-led classroom training and realistic simulators."

"Through these visits, we are expanding the fleet's knowledge about how training blended using all these formats, giving our Sailors a rich learning environment, added Perez. "Armed with the knowledge learned here, Sailors are ready to qualify in a relatively short amount of time once they report to their next command and will be able to contribute almost immediately."

As part of the "C" School curriculum, the Diesel Front Panel Simulator is used to help students learn engine alignment, operation and casualty control.

"This realistic, life-size simulator provides casualty symptoms, indications and sounds that mirror the symptoms, indications and sounds of an actual diesel engine during casualty situations," said Lt. Issac Belton, assistant officer-in-charge of CNE Detachment Great Lakes. "The simulator gives an instructor the ability to place each student in an operational environment. This allows CNE Great Lakes to verify that every student knows their casualty control procedures and properly executes the required actions when necessary."

Many of the PCOs and PCMCs came with little to no prior knowledge of what to expect about the "A" School process or the level of education new Sailors receive.

Cmdr. Paul Spohn, prospective commanding officer of Naval Support Activity, Crane, Ind., and a prior chief engineer, felt that four years ago, CBT was not meeting the demands of the fleet.

"I now believe what CNE is doing is positive, and I would be proud to have their trained Sailors become part of my command, said Spohn."

Lt. Cmdr. Justin Orlich, prospective executive officer of USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93), said that following the tour he has an entirely new perspective on the training his new Sailors receive.

"The CNE staff and instructors are all doing a great job. I like that the students are doing one CBT training module at a time then following-up with the use of a lab to gain practical application of what they have just learned," said Orlich.
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