NORFOLK (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are familiar with the call to check the setting of material condition yoke.
Every morning at 0630 and every afternoon at 1630 the call comes over the ship's announcement system. However, it is still important to be reminded of why we set material conditions.
Material condition establishes the fighting integrity and survivability of the ship. The determination of the material condition set at any time is the responsibility of the commanding officer.
"Sailors should be concerned with material condition because it is our first line of defense whether it is flooding, fire, or chemical biological radiological (CBR) attacks," said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Eric Pfennig, a Sailor assigned to Abraham Lincoln. "Having proper material condition set is going to prevent or slow down the progression of any casualty."
Whether at sea or in port, Abraham Lincoln will always be set in one of three material conditions.
X-ray is set when the ship is in almost no danger of attack or natural hazards. All doors labeled with a black X should remain closed when not in use. Yoke is set at sea, when entering or leaving port, and in port. All doors labeled with a black X or black Y should remain closed when not in use. Material condition Zebra is set during general quarters, ship-wide casualties, when entering and leaving port during wartime, or anytime the ship is in danger against fire, flooding and other damage. All doors labeled with a black X, black Y, or red Z should remain closed. Fittings labeled with a red letter Z enclosed by a black letter D, are classified as Dog Zebra and should remain closed during times of darken ship as well as for material condition Zebra.
"Having the correct material condition allows the Damage Control Assistant to know what fittings are open, and what fittings are closed," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Henry, a Sailor assigned to the safety department of Abraham Lincoln. "In an actual casualty, it is imperative for containment."
Setting the correct material condition has a greater impact than people think. Emergencies can arise at any given moment and the more time allowed to contain a situation, the better.
"Your life depends on it," said Cmdr. Meghan Forehand, the safety officer aboard Abraham Lincoln. "If the ship doesn't survive we don't survive."
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