USS Germantown Certifies Amphibious and Air Mobility Mission Areas with Flying Colors
Sasebo, Japan - USS GERMANTOWN (LSD 42) prepares to launch two Combat Rubber Raiding Crafts (CRRC) off their sterngate as one of their Amphibious Warfare Certification proficiency demonstrations.
USS Germantown Certifies Amphibious and Air Mobility Mission Areas with Flying Colors
By LTJG Benjamin Rathwell, USS Germantown Force Protection Officer
SASEBO, Japan – The USS GERMANTOWN (LSD 42) underwent complete Amphibious Warfare, Aviation, and Mobility Air certifications over the course of several weeks from March until May of 2015. The ship’s warfare teams, led by Deck Department’s 1st LT, LT Smith; Division Officers ENS Myung and ENS Chien; and Department Leading Chief Petty Officer, BMCS Brown; began preparations for the certification months in advance. “These certifications were all about planning, planning and more planning. It required extreme care in referencing the checklists to create a detailed plan of actions and milestones and close coordination with Deck, Engineering, Operations, and Supply Departments to meet the listed deadlines,” says ENS Myung commenting on what it takes to truly be prepared for an inspection.

When asked about any challenges the ship had to overcome ENS Myung replied, “The hardest part about Aviation Facilities Certification and MOB-A was cooperation and managing priorities. Our MOB-A material checks and certification recommendation assessment occurred during engineering plant Light Off Assessment, but we still managed to stay ahead of our timeline to prepare for the certification. In fact, we finished all administrative checks in less than 90 minutes. This gave us the rest of the four days in the week to train and correct any other discrepancies.”

All of the hard work to identify mission requirements early really paid off. The Aviation Facilities and MOB-A certifications culminated in scores of 95.5% and unrestricted rotary wing flight deck operations with five of the six MOB-A sub scores achieving 95% or greater . These two inspections were truly all hands efforts, requiring close cooperation between Deck, Engineering, Operations, and Supply Departments to ensure GERMANTOWN remains mission ready. “95.5% in MOB-A is a score that GERMANTOWN herself represents,” says ENS Myung. “It represents the cohesion that brought the ship together to successfully certify.”

The crew also performed remarkably well during the Amphibious Warfare (AMW) certification, conducting 18 certification events and scoring 100% in LCAC Well Deck Operations, AAV Well Deck Operations, CRRC Well Deck Operations, Ballast and Deballast Operations, and Amphibious Assault Direction System (AADS). Most notably, the 98% scored in Emergency LCAC Recovery, where the material degradation to one capstan required for operations necessitated a temporary standing order to rig a configuration change to safely recover the LCAC. According to BM3 Smalley, “Deck Department’s familiarity with AMW and the rinse and repeat process of doing many of these evolutions led to such a successful certification.”

Though a relatively recent addition to the crew, BM1 Powell’s prowess and experience as a seasoned boatswain’s mate had a lot to do with GERMANTOWN’s success. He was always on scene and proactive with any of the discrepancies. “Sometimes I thought he was in two places at once,” mentions ENS Myung. But success like this does not come from any one Sailor, no matter how strong. BM3 Pruitt comments on AMW, “Deck Department came together and worked as a team to carry this certification out. Everyone pulled together as a team and those that were unfamiliar with the events performed as seasoned professionals.”

USS GERMANTOWN continues to demonstrate that a steady strain approach and proper prior preparation are necessary tools for successful completion of certification events the first time every time.
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