SAN DIEGO--For some Sailors, coming aboard a new ship can be intimidating, especially if it’s their first command. Walking down the pier and seeing the great floating city that will be their home for the next few years is enough to widen eyes and turn stomachs. To train and make sure Sailors have the qualifications they need, commands offer indoctrination classes to transition Sailors into their upcoming positions.
Twenty Sailors graduated from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island’s (LHD 8) new eight-week indoctrination course in San Diego, Sept. 4.
Makin Island began an expanded indoctrination class called I-division, July 9. The improved indoctrination program was implemented after a Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute survey conducted in November 2017, which concluded the old indoctrination was not meeting the ship’s requirements.
In the past, Sailors received their basic damage control (DC) qualification upon completion of the three-week indoctrination class, leaving them to get maintenance and material management (3-M) and advanced DC qualifications within a 90-day time frame.
“Sailors were going into indoc and getting powerpointed to death,” said Capt. David Oden, commanding officer of Makin Island. “Some of the material wasn’t current and in general not up to the Makin Island standard.”
Now, Sailors don’t have to worry about the 90-day requirement they had in the past to get their initial qualifications. In I-division, new arrivals receive training and gain basic qualifications needed to operate aboard the ship. I-division offers Sailors their weapons, 3-M, naval security force sentry, basic and advanced DC and deck watch qualifications.
“The Sailor is checking into their division, ready to go and only having to worry about in-rate qualifications,” said Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Chanel Newsome, the training department leading petty officer.
Subject matter experts came in to train the Sailors throughout the course.
“We learned a lot about 3-M,” said Intelligence Specialist Seaman Mikayla Steinkamp, a new check-in assigned to I-division. “We also earned our watchstanding qualifications. MA1 taught us about operating weapons and personnel inspections.”
In addition to qualifications, Sailors also received ship familiarization training, alcohol awareness training, and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program training.
“It’s was really beneficial to a lot of the new people,” said Steinkamp. “I found it to be a great transitional period between A-school and coming aboard a ship.”
At the end of the course, Sailors had the opportunity to participate in a speed mentoring session, choosing a mentor to help them along the way, along with critiques and a graduation ceremony event.
“Our Sailors are coming back to us fully qualified,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Cody Clayton, aviation intermediate maintenance department leading petty officer, who had four Sailors graduate the course. “We can put all of that knowledge to good use and show them how we do it on the Makin Island.”