MARCH 7, 2017, GREAT LAKES (NNS) – Surface Warfare Officers School Unit (SWOSU) Great Lakes Damage Control (DC) Apprentice School recently began utilizing a new online training curriculum.
The class expands instruction from five to 15 days and utilizes Interactive Multi-Media Instruction (IMI) — a tool which allows Sailors to interact with a variety of DC equipment and scenarios they could potentially encounter at sea.
“The revision of added training days and course material to the damage control “A” school course is a great example of our (SWOS and SWOSU) commitment to getting engineering training right,” said Cmdr. Eric Williams, command officer of SWOSU Great Lakes. “As commanding officer, I’m very proud of the dedication, motivation, and skill of my professional staff for their internal workings of the course revision and delivery, but also for their collaboration and fleet engagement in analyzing feedback from fleet subject matter experts, Afloat Training teams and Board of Inspection and Survey.”
Instructors at the DC school worked with contractors to design and optimize the training provided to Sailors who will be rated as damage controlmen. Each student will have his or her own IMI workstation which includes a double-screen monitor, and will work with the system every day through every module of the curriculum.
“The best thing about the new curriculum is the IMI,” said Damage Controlman 1st Class Michael Muskett, DC course supervisor. “It will let students experience things here in school, that we would have never been able to show them before. For example, the proctors can use IMI to show them animations of fire-main systems on all kinds of ships.”
SWOSU’s Damage Control School Department Leading Chief Petty Officer, Senior Chief Damage Controlman Eric Sanders, added, “With the coupling of hands-on training with the technology provided by the IMI, the training provided in the damage controlman “A” school has been taken to another level. The detail and time that was put into this course by both uniformed members and the design team is nothing short of amazing.”
At the front of the classroom, facilitators have large, interactive smart boards where students follow along covering subjects pertaining to fixed damage control systems; portable damage control equipment; advance damage control tactics and techniques; chemical, biological, and radiological defense; and fittings and maintenance.
“The class proctors can tap the smart board to zoom into anything we are discussing, or to research other systems and use examples for students to better comprehend the material,” said Muskett. “So if I’m talking to the class about a [Naval Infrared Thermal Imager], I can zoom in to every area of the equipment to explain how each part works.”
Students have training guides to utilize for study outside of the classroom. With the expanding class time, the information students receive also increases. A training guide which was a couple hundred pages long has grown to 831. The guides are also used in conjunction with the IMI during the class. Proctors also reinforce what the Sailors learn through IMI with hands-on practice on static displays in the school house.
“They will continue to go through the confidence chamber, decontamination stations, and participate in firefighting evolutions,” said Muskett, “but the IMI is such an excellent way for them to learn about so many more things without actually having these items available in the building.”
Following each lesson is a computer-based simulation test covering scenarios could occur aboard a ship. Upon completion of the test, a score is generated.
Carried over from the prior curriculum, students continue training in the DC repair station inventory lab; protective clothing and equipment lab which includes chemical survey, MCU-2P gas mask training, and The Joint Lightwieght Integrated Suit Technology (JLIST) dress out; and live gas confidence chamber lab.
The modernized curriculum and classroom structure is just part of an initiative to increase the efficiency of the DC school house and provide the best possible training for new Sailors.
By Brian Walsh, Training Support Center Public Affairs