Truman Sailors Prepare For Man Overboard

Story Number: NNS090812-10Release Date: 8/12/2009 6:07:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman David Finley, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) regularly participate in man overboard drills to ensure the crew is prepared in case an actual incident occurs while underway.

"The purpose of the man overboard drills are to make sure that all personnel are accounted for and the RHIBs (ridged hull inflatable boats) are manned and ready," said Seaman Kelly O'Donnell.

"Man overboard drills for deck department basically consist of making sure our starboard and port RHIBs get into the water as fast as possible," said Yeoman 3rd Class Joab Giossi.

The drills are essential in preparing the ship for an actual man overboard.

"Safety is definitely paramount on board Truman," said Giossi. "The XO (executive officer) and CO (commanding officer) have definitely pounded that into our heads, and I do not want to lose a shipmate due to a lack of response that we might have."

There are usually 5-6 Sailors, who are at least second-class swimmers, that go out in the RHIBs, said O'Donnell.

"If we have man overboard called at three in the morning, you're talking about Sailors that are half asleep getting into those boats," said Giossi. "They are expected to do a dangerous job and to perform at a high capacity with little to no sleep."

Every drill is a learning experience for the Sailors aboard Truman.

"With each drill we get faster and faster," said O'Donnell. "The more practice we get, the better we will do in an actual man overboard."

Although deck department plays a large role in man overboard drills, it's the responsibility of the entire ship to muster with divisions in a timely manner to ensure accountability.

"Its not just up to deck department to make sure the man overboard drills are successful," said Giossi. "If the XO comes over the 1MC and tells us that we did a poor job, even if deck department got our muster done in seven minutes, we still feel like we failed."

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