Ronald Reagan's 'Crisis Action Team' Credited for Successful Communication During San Diego Wildfires

Story Number: NNS071027-02Release Date: 10/27/2007 11:48:00 AM
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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Donnie Ryan and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cara Maib, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- As the smoke begins to clear over the San Diego area and military personnel return to their primary duties, USS Ronald Reagan's (CVN 76) Crisis Action Team (CAT) is being credited for providing timely and critical information about the wildfires to more than 3,000 Sailors and their family members.

"The Crisis Action Team was a cell that we set up on the ship to be a single point of contact for Ronald Reagan Sailors in the event of a crisis," said Chief Intelligence Specialist (SW/AW) Cheri Hill, who served as the CAT leading chief petty officer.

According to Hill, the San Diego fires marked the first time the CAT team has been employed on board Ronald Reagan outside of a training scenario. During the four days the CAT was active, Sailors answered more than 100 calls for information and assistance and helped provide temporary shelter for 104 Ronald Reagan Sailors and family members.

"We've been the single point of contact for the chaplains in coordinating volunteer efforts for the Sailors, we were the central point for the department heads, we coordinated all the information that we [the ship] had to provide to Washington and we actually ended up using them [the team] to get barracks rooms for people evacuated from the fires," said Hill.

Hill said the Sailors who manned the CAT worked hard to provide timely information to callers.

"We kept two people on the telephone lines 24 hours a day, and we also had some intelligence specialists providing logistical support, making sure the brief updates were ready for the captain, fielding questions and finding answers for the people answering the phones," added Hill.

According to Intelligence Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Nicholas E. Jordan, who served as the CAT leading petty officer, the CAT team is typically designed for use overseas where the team trains for scenarios such as terrorist attacks and other emergency situations.

"It was different actually doing it on our homeland, but essentially, we had a plan in place for an event like this, and it just took a very few, small modifications to really make it work here, and it worked really well," added Jordan.

Ronald Reagan crew members who were affected by the fires said the CAT provided timely, useful information for their families who lived in the San Diego area.

"They were very well-informed and gave me names and numbers to contact to get my family into the barracks," said Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate (AW) Juan Carpio, a Sailor from Ronald Reagan's Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department.

"They were very kind despite the stressful situation, and I'm very thankful for the information they were able to provide me," said Carpio, who evacuated his family from nearby Chula Vista as the fires approached his neighborhood.

Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003, making it the ninth and newest Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ship is named for the 40th U.S. president; its motto, "Peace through Strength," was a recurrent theme during the Reagan presidency.

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Capt. Terry B. Kraft, commanding officer of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), directs members of the crisis response team on how to assist with the San Diego County wildfires.
071024-N-4005H-124 CORONADO, Calif. (Oct. 24, 2007) - Capt. Terry B. Kraft, commanding officer of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), directs members of the crisis response team on how to assist with the San Diego County wildfires. Thousands of military families have been displaced by the fires, which have forced the evacuation of more than 500,000 and destroyed more than 1,000 homes. Dry winds, low humidity and high temperatures are contributing to some of the worst fires in Southern California's history. Naval facilities on board Naval Region Southwest have opened their gates to provide food, shelter and supplies to the displaced families of service members. U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Aaron Holt (RELEASED)
October 26, 2007
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