Chiefs Enhance Team Skills during George Washington RAS

Story Number: NNS120609-03Release Date: 6/9/2012 6:59:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Pittman, USS George Washington Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Chief petty officers (CPOs) aboard the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) held a training exercise during a replenishment-at-sea (RAS), June 7.

George Washington's CPOs heaved a phone and distance line during a RAS with the Military Sealift Command's fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193) to build camaraderie within George Washington's chief's mess and to build an appreciation for the work done by their junior personnel.

"This exercise was to give my chiefs a taste of what the young seaman are doing out there on the line," said USS George Washington Command Master Chief Shaun Brahmsteadt, exercise facilitator. "We went out there to see how much work is actually involved with it, how hard it is and how many hours the Sailors spend out there doing it."

More than a dozen CPOs experienced each aspect of the operation. The exercise also allowed CPOs from different ratings to work together in a more direct capacity.

"I had aircrew survival equipmentmen, gunner's mates, hospital corpsmen, intelligence specialists, and information systems technicians on the flight deck with me, and these folks don't normally work hand-in-hand," said Brahmsteadt. "Sure, they'll work and talk back and forth, but it's a different thing to get out there and complete a task like this together when their jobs are so different from each other."

Sailors that are subject-matter experts in specific fields such as medicine, intelligence and weaponry could easily have been out of their element doing a job reserved for a Sailor with the ship's deck department, but the training allowed for the CPOs to remember the junior Sailor that does the work.

"The kind of jobs that we sometimes label "grunt" work can easily be one of the things that we as chiefs can get away from, by dismissing it as such and believing that chiefs are too good for that type of work," said Chief Information Systems Technician William Behr, from New Orleans. "The fact is that we can't take the work for granted, because we run the risk of taking the Sailor for granted. Plain and simple, that's unacceptable."

Another main goal of the exercise was to teach CPOs the importance of teamwork and bringing the lessons learned back to their respective divisions to forge camaraderie within their shops.

"I think this will help the chief's mess work more as a team because it emphasizes the Navy's 'one team, one fight' motto," said Chief Personnel Specialist Demond Walker, from Richmond, Va. "Everyone helped out and participated regardless of their rank. We that wear the fouled anchors are all one team. It's all about 5,000 Sailors working as one team."

George Washington departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka May 26, to begin its 2012 patrol. George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

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