The Precommissioning Unit for DDG-1000, Zumwalt, visited Maine’s U.S. Marine Reserve Center Sept. 18 to practice with small arms, take down techniques and force protection skills.
“Weapons retention isn’t something we work on just once,” said Senior Chief Gunner’s Mate Nick Heimsoth of Kansas City, Missouri.
“We’re teaching this as part of a combat mindset – which will allow our people to react well in the event of a real situation.”
Shipboard Sailors competed through a series of stations in which they practiced Anti Terrorism Force Protection skills and tested in knowledge-based testing. They called it a “Giddy Up”.
“The ship is not ready to train aboard yet,” said Command Master Chief Dion Beauchamp, “The Giddy Up is a way to make it more exciting. We’re bringing our required ship training out of the classroom and applying it – along with some of the daily knowledge which we all have to know as Sailors – to a friendly competition. We wanted it to be both challenging and fun.”
A major part of the ship certification process involves Anti Terrorism and Force Protection (ATFP) standards.
“We want to be ready to pass our ATFP certifications the day we move aboard,” said Capt. James Kirk, commanding officer. “We are setting the bar high,” he said. The previous generation of DDGs is staffed by over 300 Sailors on a ship about 100 feet shorter than Zumwalt.
“This ship’s crew is required to have the same number of qualified Force Protection Sailors as the prior generation,” said Lt. John Weaver, weapons officer. “This is a high percentage for us because we have fewer Sailors aboard.”
Zumwalt is slated to have 147 Sailors aboard, of whom, about 90 have checked into the Precommisioning unit based at Bath, Maine.
The event brought the entire crew outdoors for a day of training.
“All hands will be responsible for ATFP,” said Heimsoth. “On most ships there are a few departments who don’t have to stand topside watches. With us we’ll have engineers and ops right alongside our gunner’s mates.”
“The captain is giving us great leeway right now to train ATFP,” said Heimsoth.”
Press Release, September 24, 2014; Image: US Navy