NEWPORT NEWS, Va (NNS) -- Damage control has always been an integral part of U.S. Naval history. It has consistently protected the lives of Sailors. For damage control to be an effective strategy, Sailors need the proper training to combat shipboard emergencies.
In honor of the Navy's upcoming 240th birthday, more than 350 Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), and USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) teamed up for a Damage Control (DC) Olympics competition at Huntington Hall in Newport News, Va., Oct. 9.
All three commands were integrated to create teams of five Sailors and competed in events such as simulated dewatering, pipe patching, and firefighting ensemble dress-out relays.
Operations Specialist 1st Class Valerie Arellano, a damage control training team (DCTT) member aboard Lincoln, helped facilitate the event.
"I think, especially in the shipyard environment, it's important for our Sailors to sharpen their skills that they will use when the ship returns to the fleet," Arellano said. "Making it fun is just a bonus. It's great for our newer Sailors to get out here with the other commands and meet one another."
Although it was set up as a competition, the events that were practical are an integral part of training that Sailors receive to be as knowledgeable when it comes to damage control.
Lincoln's Command Master Chief Lee Salas spoke to the group of Sailors before the event began about the importance of teamwork.
"Seeing their smiles and Sailors having fun was a great experience," Salas said. "People were working together across all three ships which is representative of our great Navy. Not one team stacked up any better than the other because of all the great training Sailors have."
Lt. Cmdr. Kelvin James, Lincoln's damage control assistant (DCA) helped coordinate the event in hopes of building morale through effective, applicable training.
"I'm in the Navy, and believe the tenets of Damage Control are a core competency for Sailors everywhere to have," James said. "It's a great honor to lead and train naval war fighters to prepare for every possible event and I'm honored to wake up every day and be the Lincoln's DCA."
Lincoln is currently undergoing Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Va.
Lincoln is the fifth Nimitz-class ship to undergo RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet, and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.