Carl Vinson Hosts Holiday Safety Standdown

Story Number: NNS091130-05Release Date: 11/30/2009 12:23:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Rialyn Rodrigo

USS CARL VINSON (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Sailors participated in the annual holiday safety standdown at Hampton Roads Convention Center Nov. 19.

Holiday safety standdown promotes safety awareness to help Sailors make smart decisions during the holiday season.

"Our theme is around pre-deployment as well as holiday safety," said Cmdr. Tony McCracken, Vinson's safety officer, a native of Modesto, Calif. "This crew has a lot of challenges ahead of them. Especially, the next couple of weeks preparing for the deployment and actually executing the deployment. There are lots of things going on and we want to make sure that we can get all the information to Sailors so they can be as safe as possible."

According to McCraken, the holidays are one of the most difficult times of the year for Sailors who had tragedies in their lives and the holidays are also a good time to reinforce safety and practice good judgment.

"Sailors can be a little distracted from having too much fun, not thinking about safety and not using common sense," said McCracken. "Safety might be a little drag sometimes, however, it is important because it saves lives and it keeps us all together especially when we need to fight major conflicts during deployment."

One of the focuses of the holiday standdown was vehicle safety, it is important for Sailors to remember traffic accidents could happen anytime of the year. From 2002 to 2008, 142 Sailors and 122 Marines died due to motor vehicle accidents and all of those mishaps involved alcohol.

"We all know that safety is one of the top priorities of the chief of naval operations (CNO)," said Command Master Chief (AW/SW) April D. Beldo, a native of Lancaster, Calif. "Alcohol related incidents and unfortunately suicide incidents are on the rise, and our main concern is to make sure that all our Sailors have all the information they need so we don't become one of those statistics in our Navy."

The holiday season can increase stress and Vinson's leadership offers tools to help Sailors cope with issues that can cause problems and affect ship's readiness.

"We are all each other's leadership and we are all each other's shipmates," said Beldo. "When we see one of our shipmates put themselves in a situation that could lead to a wrong decision, we want to make sure that we are here to help them because we are all our brother's keeper. We want to take care of each other so we can all have happy holiday season and come back to the ship safe."

The holiday standdown also included financial management training, suicide awareness, operational risk management for recreational safety, and responsible sexual behavior.

"It's a lot of information but it's something that we need to hear every year," said Logistic Specialist Seaman Cody Hammond, assigned to Supply Department, a native of Denver, Colo. "Safety standdown is important because being on a shipyard we get in a routine and we need a safety reminder. We are all responsible to each other and we need to be aware of our surroundings to stay safe."

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