JUNE 7, 2017, NORFOLK (NNS) – It is extremely important for Sailors to have an understanding of their ship and how it works. They have to be prepared to handle any circumstance or emergency on their ship.
In order to maintain warfighting readiness, Sailors are required to earn the enlisted surface warfare specialist (ESWS) pin, which certifies that they have a basic knowledge of their shipboard environment.
However, Sailors stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) may have a harder time getting their pin because the ship is preparing for its refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH). Prepping for RCOH means many spaces on the ship are secured, making it more difficult for Sailors to get the education they need for their ESWS pin. Despite the hurdles of an RCOH environment, it is still possible to get their pin in port.
“I actually achieved both my ESWS and EAWS (enlisted aviation warfare specialist) in the yards, and it is a little more difficult,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Amanda Bradow, the surface and air warfare specialist coordinator for GW’s combat systems department. “With systems being pulled from the ship to be overhauled, there are less visual walkthroughs and just more verbal ones.”
From the time they check on board, Sailors E-4 and below have 30 months to obtain this qualification, while those E-5 and above have 18 months.
These Sailors must also have prerequisite qualifications, which include messenger of the watch, petty officer of the watch, 3M maintenance, and damage control.
Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Tennison Dawson earned his pin, May 15. The ship was in port, so he spent that time working toward his pin, and he still managed to get it before his deadline.
Dawson said it takes a lot of time and effort to get ESWS, but determination and persistence pays off.
He said the first step was getting his green card signed off. The green card is a sheet Sailors use to collect signatures by doing walkthroughs.
“During a walkthrough, the subject matter experts will go over the study guide in detail to help the Sailors better understand how things work in their department,” said Bradow.
Walkthroughs help Sailors learn about equipment by giving them a hands-on experience. Sailors should bring their green cards and are encouraged to do the walkthrough again to better learn the material.
However, certain spaces may be secured during RCOH. When this happens, the subject matter experts teach Sailors through other methods such as photos and illustrations.
When the green card is completely signed off, Sailors have to pass a written exam testing what they have learned about the ship.
Once they have passed the test, Sailors will move onto a “murder board” where their shipboard knowledge is put to the test by first class petty officers before moving on to the chiefs board.
“Study for the board,” said Dawson. “I studied a few weeks in advance. I just kept drilling it every night.”
Dawson said although the board was difficult and the process to get there was lengthy, studying diligently helped the most. The best thing anyone can do to prepare for the board is to study every day.
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kristen Cheyenne Yarber, USS George Washington Public Affairs