PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Vice Adm. Al Harms, commander, Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) and the U.S. Navy's chief learning officer, has directed commands in his claimancy to find innovative ways to continue training in spite of logistical challenges that have resulted from Hurricane Ivan's destruction.
Many NETC commands, including the headquarters building, are located aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola and throughout the surrounding Gulf Coast area. While nearly all structures in the area suffered some degree of damage, Harms believes the best thing his personnel can do at this point is "keep moving forward" to sustain the training mission that is a key to fleet readiness.
"Initially, our top priority was to ensure all staff and students made it safely through this dangerous hurricane," said Harms. "Now, we're focusing on bringing everyone on the team back to the area once we're absolutely certain it is safe to do so."
Once students, staff and family members have returned safely, Harms expects his local commanders to be conducting substantial training by Sept. 27.
"I expect, by using makeshift arrangements and remaining flexible, we will continue with the majority of our training," he said. "We have a mission to train and educate the fleet, and I intend to conduct that mission."
Capt. Kevin Hooley, commanding officer of the Center for Cryptology at Corry Station, believes he and other local commanders are up to the task.
"We're doing some fancy footwork in regard to moving labs and people, and changing our sequence of curriculum in order to achieve the mission. We're also conducting double and triple shifts of classroom training, but we're holding up fine," said Hooley, who estimates more than 72 percent of his students are already back in the classrooms.
"With any luck, if we can get a couple of key roofs fixed in the next day or two, I anticipate we'll have more than 95 percent of our Cryptology Center student population back in classrooms by week's end," continued Hooley.
Although the classrooms and training venues have undergone significant changes, and logistical challenges abound, by remaining flexible and seeking creative solutions, NETC will "keep moving forward" and continue its mission of educating and training the fleet.
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