ABOARD USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- For the third consecutive year, both the air department and damage control division aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) have the distinguished honor of earning the Battle Efficiency, or Battle "E" award.
The award is a reflection of exemplary performance during a series of drills and exercises designed to determine the readiness and reaction capabilities of each department during given situations. As the testing cycle progresses, the drills and exercises become increasingly difficult.
To receive the award, each department must receive a cumulative score of 90 percent during the testing period which spans the calendar year.
"We've been tested, and we've passed," said air department's Flight Deck Handling Officer, Lt. Cmdr. R. D. Jones. "We expect to win again ... not winning isn't even conceivable."
The greatest challenge for Jones and the air department came during the Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) in an exercise called "Battle Flex Deck" when the ship never stopped flight operations. "We maximized what this ship could do in terms of launching, recovering and maintenance of aircraft. I was impressed," said Jones.
Despite the honor of winning for the third year in a row, Jones said he still isn't satisfied. "We worked hard as a department to win the award, and we're going to continue to do our part to make this a great ship, but we want the entire ship to win the Battle E."
Indeed, other departments on the ship are performing up to and above standards, as well. Deck, engineering, medical, navigation, operations, supply and weapons departments all received the Battle E award for 2002.
The Damage Control (DC) Division also won the Battle E for the third year in a row, but Truman's Fire Marshal, Chief Warrant Officer Alan Heckman, was quick to point out that "of all the departmental awards, the award for DC is more a ship award, because it involves everybody. Winning this award shows me we are always at the highest state of readiness."
The DC team's ultimate challenges came during the Inter-Deployment Training Cycle in exercises called "Conflagration" and "Mass Casualty."
According to Heckman, the two exercises determine how the ship can overcome damage in various spaces and how well the training teams work together to successfully complete those exercises.
Like Jones, Heckman expects the DC division to remain competitive. "When we start any year, we set the goal of being competitive. Just because we win doesn't mean we can sit back. We constantly need to train new people and stay at the highest state of readiness."
Overall, eight departments aboard Truman earned the Battle E. Provided air department and DC maintain their string of excellence and efficiency while the other departments follow suit, 2003 could quite literally be a banner year.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75.