BHR Sailors Enhance Skills Using NSST
SAN DIEGO (April 25, 2019) Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) participate in a visual information drill at the Navigation, Seamanship and Shiphandling Trainer on Naval Base San Diego. Bonhomme Richard is in its homeport of San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gavin Shields)

SAN DIEGO – Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) participated in a drill combining navigation and seamanship training with visual information training at the Navigation, Seamanship and Shiphandling Trainer (NSST) on Naval Base San Diego May 21.

The training consisted of bridge personnel practicing safe navigation in a simulator until an unknown and potentially dangerous contact came into view, which prompted the visual information team to be called up to document the encounter.

“We’re here today at the Navigation, Seamanship and Shiphandling Trainer, doing visual information training,” said Cdr. Jason Ward, the Operations Officer aboard Bonhomme Richard. “On top of that we’re also conducting complex close quarters maneuvering training. These are two very challenging scenarios the fleet is facing today and we’re actually able to use the technology here at the simulators to layer those two situations on top of each other to maximize the positive effects of our allotted training time.”

“This [training] is not just to develop shiphandlers ability to maneuver at close distances to other ships, which is challenging enough, but also to train other teams in terms of capturing the narrative for situations they may see in the fleet right now,” said Ward. “You take one challenging situation and you add another one and combine those two in a safe environment with the shiphandling simulator, and you can get some extraordinary training and really step up the game of your watchstanders as they prepare to make their way out into the fleet.”

The NSST simulator uses computer graphics to represent real-life scenarios and give trainees a realistic at-sea experience while they are ashore.

“We’re actually using a simulation system, very similar to cockpit systems for aviators,” said Pat Garrett, a retired U.S. Navy captain and instructor at the Navigation Seamanship and Shiphandling Trainer. “This simulator has been in place now for quite a while. It has had numerous upgrades over a period of time, but it is s actually a very good training tool for our young junior officers and enlisted folks to come over here and hone their skills in navigation, seamanship and shiphandling.”

Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ryan Wilber said the training helps Bonhomme Richard Sailors remain proficient and ready to go out to sea and continue to complete the Navy’s mission.

“It is important to maintain our ability to execute our individual missions for the betterment as a whole and the betterment of the Navy,” said Wilber. “Bonhomme Richard is pushing that to the limits by integrating visual information scenarios into safety of navigation and seamanship scenarios. That is just one example of Bonhomme Richard Sailors living up to our commanding officers guiding principles of staying ‘Ready Now! Ready Always!’”

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