During this underway the crew is slated to conduct certifications with Afloat Training Group (ATG) Norfolk in multiple warfare areas to certify the ship for operations at sea.
“This underway is critical to not only getting our certifications from ATG, but for building our proficiency as well,” said Cmdr. Alexander Bein, operations officer of Kearsarge. “Every day we spend out at sea we’re qualifying people and building depth on our bench.”
Two of the qualifications that Kearsarge is pursuing during this underway include the ship’s aviation certification (AVCERT) and amphibious warfare (AMW). The AVCERT assessment certifies that the crew can safely launch and recover aircraft and tackle emergencies on the flight deck. The AMW assessment certifies Kearsarge can safely receive and launch amphibious landing craft via the ship’s well deck.
“We’re teaching the crew how to run the flight deck and the well deck – two of our core missions,” said Bein. “Coming out of the shipyard, we haven’t done these things for over a year, so we need the practice. It takes a lot of time to build our proficiency to ensure that we can do this mission safely in the future.”
Kearsarge will be joined by aircraft and crew from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 during this underway. This will be the first time the ship has supported aircraft since entering a maintenance availability phase in 2019.
“AVCERT is important because it allows us to use the airport on the roof. Without it, we’re a ship that can’t carry aircraft,” said Cmdr. Eric Isaacson, air department head of Kearsarge. “One of the things we do as an LHD is to launch and recover aircraft, which allows us to give humanitarian aid, provide disaster relief and support combat operations.”
Other major Kearsarge certification areas include engineering, navigation, and seamanship to ensure the ship can continue to sail and operate safely.
Once the ship and crew have demonstrated competencies in these core warfare areas of the basic phase, they will move on to the integrated phase to earn advanced certifications.
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