USS Essex Earns Inaugural VADM Bulkeley Award

Story Number: NNS100625-02Release Date: 6/25/2010 10:42:00 AM
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By April Phillips, Naval Safety Center Public Affairs

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- USS Essex (LHD-2) recently earned the inaugural Vice Adm. Bulkeley Award for Afloat Safety Culture.

Rear Adm. Arthur J. Johnson, commander, Naval Safety Center (NSC), presented the ship's commanding officer, Capt. Troy Hart and safety officer, Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Aramburu with the award in a ceremony June 21 on board the Sasebo, Japan, based amphibious ship.

Johnson said the award recognizes the importance transparency and communications plays in reducing mishaps.

"This award symbolizes a culture shift toward transparency that is taking place and which benefits fleet readiness as a whole. By being willing to share what you've learned, you've raised awareness which leads to reduced mishaps," Johnson said.

Essex safety department Sailors contributed numerous articles to safety publications on lessons learned and best practices. Johnson also commended the ship for making the most of the petty officers assigned to the ship's safety department.

"USS Essex has empowered the ship's safety petty officers to be aggressive about identifying, reporting, and correcting minor hazards. This keeps those minor problems from becoming major problems," Johnson said.

Essex had a verified 51 percent reduction in accidents and injuries during the last two years and had no Class A or Class B mishaps in 2009. These are the most serious mishap classes.

The award is named for Vice Adm. John D. Bulkeley, a Navy officer who earned the Medal of Honor Award during World War II and who served as the head of the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) from 1967 to 1988. INSURV is responsible for inspecting ships prior to their deployments. It's known to be a rigorous inspection, but one that is needed to prevent mishaps.

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