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Story Number: NNS080411-02

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tiffani Paredes, Pre-Commissioning Detachment Makin Island Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS)
-- Makin Island's (LHD 8) Damage Control Training Team (DCTT) provided training to the pre-commissioning detachment's (PCD) In Port Emergency Team (IET) April 4 in order to effectively prepare the crew for shipboard drills.

PCD Makin Island's primary mission is to undergo training in preparation to take delivery of the ship in November. To do this, IET personnel gather at Training Support Center's (TSC) firefighting school every Friday to review fire drill procedures, basic fire party positions and communication, and familiarize themselves with equipment.

"It was important for us to get the crew ready for the drills we will conduct once we are established on board," said Senior Chief Damage Controlman (SW) James Dewitt, Makin Island's DCTT coordinator and fire marshal. "This gets the crew used to the fact that we will be running drills every day."

IET training started in San Diego and will continue in Pascagoula, Miss., where the ship and pre-commissioning unit (PCU) are located. Personnel in both locations are striving to ensure everyone participates regardless of experience level.

"Those who haven't been on ships will perform drills or even real fires like second nature if it is taught repetitively," said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Norris Flanigan, who has attended the training and participated in a fire party. "There will be no questions asked -- just a flawless execution of problem solving."

A large part of delivering this well-rounded instruction is effective scheduling. Facilitators point out that the PCD must work to ensure each member gets time for both IET and the other schools they attend.

"The section leaders have done a great job of making sure we have enough personnel," said Dewitt. "Everyone has heard that 'damage control is everyone's responsibility,' and it truly is. I would like for Sailors to understand that you, that one person, could be the difference in saving someone's life or the ship."

Following delivery to the Navy, Makin Island will be commissioned and homeported in San Diego.

Sailors, who are in their nine to 12-month negotiating window for orders and want to be part of the pre-commissioning command, can contact their rating detailer and ask to be released to the pre-commissioning detailer for further assignment to Makin Island. Makin Island currently has almost half of its 1,100-person crew.

For more news from Pre-Commissioning Unit Makin Island, visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.
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