Canadian Army Sgt. Earns Dual Qualification

Story Number: NNS080502-02Release Date: 5/2/2008 11:24:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Recruit Jared Hall, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN At Sea (NNS) -- A Canadian army sergeant from HMCS Charlottetown (FFG 339) received his enlisted air warfare specialist (EAWS) qualification pin April 27, making him the first dual-qualified Canadian aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

Canadian Army Sgt. Colin Whyatt, who received his ESWS qualification late last month, said he decided to go for his EAWS because he wanted to learn more about Truman's flight operations.

"Once I got into ESWS and started learning about the ship itself, mainly, it was from the flight deck down," Whyatt said. "Most of my interest was in the flight deck. In order to get to know more about that, I decided to get involved in the EAWS program."

Whyatt worked through his EAWS personnel qualification standards (PQS) at a rapid pace, passing his final board only 11 days after receiving his first PQS signature.

Even though he will not be able to wear his pins once he returns to his frigate, he said he is proud of the accomplishment.

"It was pretty awesome," Whyatt said. "The aircraft carrier has always been an interest of mine and now I know it from the bottom up."

Chief Storekeeper (AW/SW) Yasmira Leffakis, the leading chief petty officer of the Component Control Section of Aviation Supply who sat on Whyatt's EAWS board, said Whyatt performed phenomenally on his final board and really knew his stuff.

"When you go through your air board, you get asked between 25 to 44 questions per panel member, so it's really difficult," she said. "He didn't seem to have any problems in any of the six areas he was boarding on."

Whyatt was extremely motivated to learn about Truman's air operations, and he worked diligently to complete his PQS, said Leffakis.

"He obviously knew his information because he did walk-through after walk-through after walk-through," Leffakis said. "He actually learned about us and maybe, he'll be able to take back some of this information implement into his own military."

The knowledge Whyatt has gained by completing his qualifications is certainly unique in the Canadian military.

"I don't know any other person in the Canadian Forces that has the EAWS qualification and I don't know anybody that has both of them," Whyatt said.

Whyatt said he especially enjoyed seeing air operations first hand.

"My favorite part was going up on the flight deck during flight operations," he said. "It was pretty awesome. The personnel have a lot of responsibility and they sure know their business."

Whyatt noted that working on his warfare pins gave him the opportunity to interact with Truman's Sailors.

"Part of my job is to show the [Canadian] flag and represent my country," he said. "I'm here to get out, be amongst you guys and see what you do."

It is good for Sailors to be exposed to members of foreign militaries and their cultures, Leffakis explained.

"We learned a lot from him, we really did," Leffakis said. "I think it's awesome that he has had the opportunity to be able to participate in the military exchange program and be on an aircraft carrier."

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