USS PORTER, At Sea (NNS) -- As Sailors aboard USS Porter (DDG 78) continue across the Atlantic Ocean March 17, they take advantage of the time during the transit to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation to further hone their mission readiness.
With a crew of about 300, Porter Sailors must be well-versed in all aspects of the ship's operations in order to maintain the highest level of readiness.
"We had a general quarters (GQ) drill today which had multiple simultaneous instances of simulated damage. It definitely got a little crazy, which was good, because it challenged us to think harder and work more effectively," said Damage Controlman Fireman Steven A. Alexander.
The ship's training officer, Lt. j.g. Andrew T. Bartholomeaux, is responsible for ensuring that Porter meets and exceeds training standards that are commonly known as continuous certification requirements.
"We try to introduce the crew to stressful and realistic situations in order to build the muscle memory that is crucial when sailing into a potentially hostile zone, in order to keep Porter safe when it matters most," said Bartholomeaux.
The set of drills Porter plans to run on its transit across the Atlantic will put the crew and the ship through its paces.
Warfare specific drills compartmentalize the training evolutions to minimize the impact on the overall ship's schedule, but when multiple warfare areas are integrated into a single, comprehensive and interwoven training scenario, the heat is turned up.
"When we have a GQ drill, things become a little more hectic. It's not just a fire drill, it's a whole ship drill that really requires a lot of focus," said Alexander.
The integrated training environment allows the crew to act and react across different warfare areas, improving flexibility and capacity in a real situation.
"These kinds of scenarios build confidence, confidence that will save lives," said Bartholomeaux.
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