USS NASSAU, At Sea (NNS) -- Since USS Nassau's (LHA 4) departure from the shipyards, training and preparing for certifications have been a constant priority that has paid off for the crew during the Engineering Operational Certification (EOC) on March 29.
Afloat Training Group (ATG) performed the EOC, which validates the ship's ability to maintain measurable and sustainable levels of proficiency in all engineering areas.
In efforts to achieve the highest markings possible during those certifications, the constant drills and simulated scenarios that were performed have finally paid off.
"Everyone's been putting a lot of work into preparing the ship and the equipment for these certifications," said Lt. Cdmr. Mark Stewart, Nassau's damage control assistant prior to the inspection. "And I really think these guys will do well, they've developed a lot of teamwork and there is no doubt they know these scenarios."
The certification exercise took place at sea during Nassau's transit across the Atlantic Ocean to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility in support of Exercise Phoenix Express 2007. ATG evaluated, monitored and graded the Nassau, commonly known as "Top Gator," resulting in the highest marks this year.
"The most difficult part has been the limited amount of time for training, and limited number of watchstanders, which is a result from turnover during our yard period," said Chief Machinist's Mate Charles McEachin. "It takes most ships three to five months to prepare for [what] we've done in six weeks."
According to Damage Controlman 2nd Class Sean Connolly, the key components of Nassau's engineering team exist within its people and their ability to perform under
pressure. Accomplishing what is needed to certify in these drills has become almost second nature. The ultimate goal is to perform at the highest level during the actual certification.
"We can literally do this in the dark, a main space fire drill anyway," said Connolly. "I say this because the ship went dark and we thought it was part of the drill; but it wasn't, and we never missed a beat!"
In a message sent to the ship from Rear Adm. Garry E. Hall, Commander, Expeditionary Group 2, Hall recognized the efforts and dedication of Nassau Sailors.
"Bravo Zulu for a job well done on successfully completing your EOC with an overall numerical grade of 91.3 percent. In ATG language this is a grade of outstanding," said Hall. "You showed a lot of pride. You have demonstrated leadership, excellence and exceptional professionalism. Your intense focus, hard work and dedication, resulted in an accomplishment few have achieved. Again, job well done to the officers and superb crew of Nassau!"
For more news from USS Nassau (LHA 4) visit www.news.navy.mil/local/lha4/.