Mission Essential Training Continues During COVID-19 at Great Lakes Schools

08 June 2020

From Brian Walsh

The strong commitment to mission accomplishment for commands tasked in training students at "A" and "C" Schools in Great Lakes is unwavering - even during a pandemic.

The strong commitment to mission accomplishment for commands tasked in training students at “A” and “C” Schools in Great Lakes is unwavering – even during a pandemic.

As many communities face the challenges brought upon by COVID-19, Training Support Center (TSC), Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit (CSCSU) and Surface Warfare Engineering School Command (SWESC) Great Lakes continue the absolute mission essential work at providing highly trained Sailors for the fleet.

“The quick reactions to mitigate the threat of COVID-19 has allowed us to continue seamless housing and training for Sailors,” said TSC Great Lakes Commanding Officer Capt. Pat Sutton. “We continue to make the health and safety of our students, staff and their families our highest priority. Despite current circumstances though, our mission is a must for keeping commands fully manned.”

Annually around 13,500 young men and women transfer to TSC for “A” School or accession-level training. The command provides around-the-clock mentorship for them in the barracks. Staff members are present conducting inspections of living quarters and uniforms, overseeing watch standing, ensuring general health and wellness, upholding all Navy regulations and standards, holding weekly training, and personifying Navy core values.

At learning sites, students learn the skills they need to contribute in the fleet.

CSCSU provides accession level training at Apprentice Technical Training following on to ‘A’ Schools, as well as advanced training at ‘C’ schools. The command’s schools include Electrician’s Mate, Gunner’s Mate, Electronics Technician, Fire Controlman, Interior Communications Electrician, Mineman, Sonar Technician Surface Technicians and Boatswain’s Mate.

At SWESC, student training encompasses all surface engineering rates. They begin in Basic Engineering Common Core before continuing on to one of nine rate-earning programs or apprenticeship-level training schools, and advanced training at “C” Schools.

The command’s schools include Damage Controlman, Engineman, Electrician’s Mate, Gas Turbine Systems Technician-Electrical, Gas Turbine Systems Technician-Mechanical, Hull Technician, Machinist’s Mate, Quartermaster and Machinery Repairman.

Policies at both CSCSU and SWESC have been instituted in all buildings including classrooms and laboratories.

In addition to the continued handwashing and face coverings, the schools have spaced their classes out to facilitate the six-foot social distance protocol. Staff have administered daily temperature checks to ensure a safe learning environment safe prior to students enter the building.

“Our team, Sailors and Civilians, maintained complete professionalism, dedication and strict adherence to safe practices during this pandemic,” said CSCSU Great Lakes Commanding Officer Capt. Ricardo Enriquez. “This allowed for a safe training environment and continued the supply chain to the fleet. I couldn’t be more proud of the CSCSU Great Lakes Team and the hard work they all put in.”

Watch captains have also been named to ensure the school has positive control of the environment. The watch ensures communication up and down the chain and command creating a proactive stance to isolate any potential COVID cases. In addition, the schools have created a rotating watch bill to support the enforcement of social distancing from 4 to 10 p.m. every day.

“My staff worked around the clock to implement safety mitigations to maintain the health and well-being of our Sailors while at the same time completing our mission of providing professional education and training in support of Surface Navy requirements that prepare enlisted Sailors to serve at sea,” said SWESC Great Lakes Commanding Officer Cmdr. Shawn Gibson. “Training future Sailors is absolutely mission critical – a constant and steady flow of Sailors is necessary to man our ships which spearhead our nation’s security.”


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