GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- As the new year begins it can be fun to look back, and reflect, on the many changes, events, successes of Training Support Center (TSC) Great Lakes, Surface Warfare Officers School Unit (SWOSU) Great Lakes, and Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit (CSCSU) Great Lakes during 2017.
The students and staff of the commands have created a year that was memorable in many ways; too many to include in a single article.
This year saw leadership change at SWOSU. During a change of command ceremony held September 29 at Naval Station Great Lakes, Cmdr. Terrance Patterson relieved Cmdr. Eric Williams as commanding officer.
Damage Control (DC) Apprentice School recently began utilizing a new online training curriculum. The class expands instruction from five to 15 days and utilizes Interactive Multi-Media Instruction (IMI), a tool which allows Sailors to interact with a variety of DC equipment and scenarios they could potentially encounter at sea.
Over 50 students were the first to go through the Live Fire Fighting Trainer (FFT) course at SWOSU, Feb. 22.
The training will be delivered to over 10,800 surface accessions Sailors attending SWOSU, CSCSU, as well as staff members at the various commands across Great Lakes as they transfer back to sea duty, each year. The two-day curriculum encompasses in-classroom lessons pertaining to fire chemistry, fire party organization, portable extinguishers, protective equipment, as well as self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) during the first day, and live firefighting trainer labs cover wild hose, hose handling, and firefighting procedures during the second day.
SWOSU's hull maintenance technician (HT) staff and students gathered at their "A" school building to honor the Navy rating established in 1972, although the work they do has existed since the first ship took to water.
CSCSU students graduating from Electronics Technicians (ET) and Fire Controlman (FC) "A" school trained on the radar simulator partial task trainer (PTT) at CSCSU. Over the past year students have been utilizing the new system after a complete overhaul of the equipment.
The modernization of the PTTs provided systems that more closely resemble those found aboard current ships in the fleet greatly enhancing the course for Electronics Technicians (ET) and Fire Controlman (FC) "A" school students.
Apprentice Technical Training (ATT) School, operated by CSCSU, continues to expertly train students comprising eight different rates prior to attending their "A" School.
The Computer Based Training class is interactive, testing students in real-life situations that occur in the Fleet. Training includes modules and labs that cover the theory of alternating current, and direct current, and analog, digital and electro mechanics.
Incoming Sailors at TSC continue to be expertly trained during a four-day LifeSkills class that teaches them critical information they will need to know in order to have a successful Navy career.
TSC named two ombudsmen for the command; one focused on staff and the other with new accession student spouse and family responsibilities. Angela Santos and co-ombudsman Heather Beaudet were appointed by Capt. Mark Meskimen, commanding officer of TSC.
Forty-one TSC, SWOSU, CSCSU, and Center for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Diving (CEODD) Sailors were pinned chief petty officers (CPOs) at Ross Theatre, Sept. 15.
During the beginning of the year, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Bill Moran announced in an all-Navy message Jan. 9 CSCSU, SWOSU and TSC earned the Retention Excellence Award.
TSC, SWOSU and CSCSU retention teams were three of more than 80 award winners from Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education commands. Only commands that achieve superior accomplishments in executing programs and policies that best enable Sailors to succeed in their careers from the previous fiscal year are selected for the retention excellence award.
This year saw a number of foreign and domestic visits letting TSC and the Learning Sites (LS) show and share successes in getting Sailors ready for the Fleet.
Members of the Brazilian Navy; Foreign students from the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity; U.S. Fleet Forces Command Foreign Liaison Officers; professionals from San Diego and Las Vegas who took part in the Educator Orientation Visit (EOV); and Chicago public school students were among those that visited throughout the year.
TSC Great Lakes' Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions Sailors were named the 2017 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award winners "Peer-to-Peer" Shore for the U.S. Navy. This is the second year in a row they received the award.
The award honors groups of junior Sailors that have excelled in encouraging other Sailors to embody the Navy's core values of honor, courage, and commitment, and have worked together to promote peer-to-peer mentorship and reduce destructive personal decision-making and behaviors.
Sailors continue volunteering their time in the local community improving lives outside of the command.
TSC and the LS carry on the tradition of being Great Lakes' top blood donors hosting LifeSource Blood Services blood drives throughout the year.
TSC Sailors and students spend one morning each month reading books and answering questions from students at Forrestal Elementary School in Great Lakes as part of the reading buddies program.
Sailors team up with volunteers at Feed My Starving Children in Libertyville, Illinois, to help prepare meals for starving children around the world.
SWOSU and CSCSU Chief Petty Officer Association teamed together in gathering critical items to send to Puerto Rico following the devastation caused by hurricane Maria.
Sailors from TSC joined together to volunteer for Providing Advocacy, Dignity (PADS) and Shelter Crisis Services who assist the homeless in Lake County.
And, led by the TSC Holiday Committee and Petty Officers Association, Sailors were busy collecting gifts for two organizations that assist in the lives of kids during the winter season. Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts, and The Salvation Army's Angel Tree Program which provides gifts of new clothing and toys to thousands of children who otherwise might not have anything for Christmas.
Volunteering goes both ways with the great relations TSC and LS have with the community. This is no more apparent than how the surrounding area opened their hearts and homes to ensure Sailors who cannot travel home have a happy holiday.
More than 450 students at TSC were invited by more than 170 local hosts to their homes and the McHenry VFW Post 4600 to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal as part of the annual Adopt-A-Sailor program.
The past year's review, along with previous ones, is impressive. TSC and LS has created a long annual tradition of successes proving that the commands can look forward to great accomplishments in training, volunteerism and continued support with the surrounding community.
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