Makin Island Sailors Prepare to Defend Their Ship
By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Justin Webb
PASCAGOULA, Miss. – Three Sailors from precommissioning unit (PCU) Makin Island graduated the Damage Control Familiarization Safety, Environmental and Occupational Health Programs (DC CREWFAM) at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB) West Administrative Annex April 11.

DC CREWFAM is designed to provide LHD 8 crewmembers with basic damage control (DC) processes, familiarization with the DC systems aboard the ship, and to review fundamentals covered in the personal qualification standards (PQS) for all personnel on board.

Machinery Repairman 1st Class (SW/AW) Calandra Crawford, who is also a DC academy instructor, attended the course and feels very strongly about damage control and its purpose on Makin Island.

“Even though LHD 8 has smart ship capabilities, the ship itself will not save our lives,” said Crawford. “There are still a lot of situations and hazards on board that would require all individuals to respond rapidly. I personally have acquired some friends on board LHD 8, and don’t want to lose any of them due to lack of knowledge of basic DC.”

All Makin Island Sailors are required to complete the Basic DC PQS within six months of reporting to the command. Chief Warrant Officer Rob Morrow, Makin Island’s damage control division officer, said the goal aboard Makin Island is for proficiency and working knowledge -- not just PQS completion.

“Many Makin Island systems are new to LHDs; some are new to the Navy,” said Morrow. “Regardless of the experience a Sailor brings to the table, there is no individual that has been qualified on a ship like LHD 8. These courses are meant to help prepare us for the challenges ahead.”

NGSB personnel will continue to hold approximately 260 CREWFAM courses for crew members both at PCU in Pascagoula and the precommissioning detachment (PCD) in San Diego, Calif. until three weeks prior to Makin Island’s departure from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.

Following delivery of the ship to the Navy, Makin Island crewmembers will sail the ship from Pascagoula to San Diego where the ship will be commissioned.

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.
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