USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
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Story Number: NNS081016-19

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Webb, Pre-Commissioning Unit Makin Island Public Affairs

-- Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Makin Island's (LHD 8) Safety Department concluded two days of mandatory safety training Oct. 2, which boosted the readiness of the shipboard safety program and the safety petty officers who implement it.

Instructors from Safety Programs Afloat (San Diego) provided training to Pascagoula-based Sailors to ensure Makin Island's divisional safety petty officers have the required safety technician 9571 Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) for those positions. The training also provided supervisory personnel with the basic knowledge and skills required to perform their duties and responsibilities in accordance with Operational Naval Instruction (OPNAVINST) 5100.19.

"This is an extremely informative class for safety supervisors," said course instructor Chief Electrician's Mate (SW) Elmer Deinla. "The course is a mandatory training for assigned divisional safety petty officers. Fifty percent of the total divisional safety petty officers must have attended this two-day formal classroom training."

Makin Island's Safety Department strives to not only reach Safety Programs Afloat's requirements for qualifications but to exceed them.

"Makin Island's goal is for 100 percent of both primary and alternate divisional safety petty officers to attend this course," said Safety Department Representative, Electrician's Mate 1st Class (SW) Patrick David.

"Since this is a rare function to have these two safety instructors, EMC Deinla and Mr. Rick Lewis, fly to a somewhat non-military location to teach this course, we encouraged all E-5 and above at the PCU to take advantage of this opportunity. Thanks to Makin Island Sailors utilizing this rare opportunity, we're actually attaining more than 100 percent of our command requirement."

The course also focused on the facilitation, implementation and maintenance of an effective divisional safety program. The course identified how safety petty officers support the command safety officer in the mission of maintaining an effective shipboard safety program.

"When I was first enrolled in this class, I thought it was nothing more than another training that needed to be completed," said Yeoman 3rd Class Thomas Jones. "After a matter of minutes I realized the severity of the training. All the causes of mishaps and injuries are infinite, but knowing how to prevent them from occurring or reoccurring is a great feeling."

Sailors who complete the training and meet the other requirements to receive the safety technician NEC not only help ensure Makin Island will be one of the safest ships in the fleet, they are also giving themselves more options for future military assignments and civilian employment.

"With this NEC, challenging and rewarding billets working for Navy Occupation and Safety and Health (NAVOSH) and the Navy Safety Center become great options for Sailors who are rotating out of sea duty," added David. "Also, employment opportunities for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and NAVOSH may be available after their Navy careers."

Sailors, in their nine to 12-month negotiating window for orders, who would like to be considered for the pre-commissioning command, can contact their rating detailer and request to be released to the pre-commissioning detailer for assignment to Makin Island.

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