Plebes Learn About the Saving Facets of a Ship
Smoke fills the passageway and begins to climb up the ladder. It's a foggy, white mist that has little, almost undetectable odor. Looking down the ladder, only the top of the helmet from the person in front can be seen, as well as an orange fire hose. Pretty soon, the little glimpse of that one person down below disappears. The hose looks like it is being held by the white smoke itself.
A muffled voice comes from the distance, difficult to decipher. Again, it speaks the same drowned out words, but louder, while at the same time, tugging at the hose from below: "More slack," it says.
Down below, the hose can be traced through the twists and turns of the passageway. At the front, the nozzleman is fighting off a pretend fire, shortly before being relieved by another person. Then, he's ordered toward a ladder and out onto the deck of the ship.
This firefighting and egress scenario is one of many damage control training exercises created specifically for plebes at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Designed to simulate what could be a real-world disaster on a ship out in the fleet, it opens their eyes, a group at a time, to such a reality.
Aboard the Naval Academy's Yard Patrol ships, plebes learn all the ins and outs of driving and operating a ship throughout their four years at the Academy. They learn how to keep her afloat and on path, free of or in control of damage, and more.