PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) was awarded the Chief of Naval Operations Afloat Safety Award from Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, April 24.
The award recognizes the ship's commitment to fleet readiness, maximum efficiency and economical use of resources, with the recognition going to commands that have committed themselves to maintaining the highest of safety standards.
Selection of a carrier for the CNO Afloat Safety Award is the first step required for further consideration for the SECNAV Safety Excellence Awards. Cmdr. Scott Morrill, Truman's safety officer, attributes the win to the crew's dedication to safety.
"I believe we won because of our ability to make safety a priority before it becomes an issue," said Morrill. "We don't sit back and wait to react to mishaps or deficiencies. We take a proactive approach. Our entire crew has done a phenomenal job of looking out for safety hazards from the junior ranks all the way to our leadership. That is really why we won."
Truman was ranked alongside other aircraft carriers from the East Coast, and placed first because of the ship's ability to exceed the expectations of the audit requirement by inspecting each program three times a year.
"There are 16 specific 'considerations' outlined in the award and we were successful in all areas, including off-duty and motor vehicle safety," said Morrill. "I can't stress enough that safety is an all-hands effort, and we've been very good at being proactive and reactive in addressing our issues."
The CNO Afloat Safety Award evaluates the proactive approaches the ship is taking, and what separates the ship compared to other commands' safety programs. Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Damien Ponders, Truman's safety department leading chief petty officer, said he could not be more proud of the Sailors' work which led to the ship's recognition.
"Our Sailors take a lot of pride in what they do," said Ponders. "It's an honor to be recognized for our hard work and dedication, and to be labeled the best is truly amazing. However, we should always be looking for ways to improve in all departments throughout the ship and not become complacent, especially as we ramp up our operational tempo and get out to sea."
Morrill said the award not only recognizes the ship's safety department, but it's a reflection of the entire command.
"The fact that we won it in a shipyard is a huge accomplishment to our Sailors and the entire chain of command," said Morrill. "Safety is everyone's responsibility. There is always the possibility of mishaps, but we've got to do the best we can to reduce their likelihood and keep our ship the safest in the fleet."
Truman is currently undergoing maintenance during a Planned Incremental Availability period at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
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