NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) are taking advantage of opportunities to qualify in dual enlisted warfare specialties during March as the crew prepares to move back aboard the ship in late 2008.
The Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualifications provide Sailors with knowledge of their respective ships and platforms. With Carl Vinson rapidly returning to operational status, Sailors on board see the benefits of warfare qualifications now more than ever.
"Having your ESWS and EAWS qualifications shows initiative and it prepares the crew for what's to come," said Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 1st Class (AW/SW/NAC) Jose Marrero. "Having one or both designators demonstrates that you have pride in yourself, your ship, and the Navy."
Carl Vinson Sailors also have another motivation; collectively as a command, the ship has flown the EAWS and ESWS pennants over the course of the past three years.
Much of this accomplishment has occurred as the ship operates in refueling complex overhaul (RCOH). To keep the enlisted warfare programs active and vibrant during RCOH, Carl Vinson's program planners had to adapt the qualification curriculum to allow Sailors to learn the operational aspect of aircraft carrier operations, while grasping the current overhaul mission of the ship.
"Being able to see the stuff that you are learning for the ESWS and EAWS exams is much more comprehendible on an operational ship compared to the shipyard," said Marrero. "So, we've adapted a little bit with the programs to ensure we can learn and get the full benefit of the qualifications."
Despite the not having all the learning opportunities of any underway ship, Carl Vinson program facilitators are still able to provide crew members with the diverse qualification experience that dual warfare qualifications provide in other sea going commands.
According to the command ESWS coordinator, Information Systems Technician 1st class (SW/AW) Jeffery Hanson, the opportunity to learn about an operational aircraft carrier, coupled with the shipyard experience, translates into a more knowledgeable qualification base for the crew.
"An aircraft carrier offers a unique environment where Sailors can get dual warfare qualified," said Hanson. "Sailors here get a taste of all of that, and they learn about the shipyard aspect of the carrier's mission."
For most of Carl Vinson's crew, the opportunity to attain dual qualifications is part of what makes aircraft carrier service attractive.
"There are rewards for getting your quals," said Damage Controlman Fireman Andrew Smetana. "It's worth earning them, all the way around."
Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH, Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.