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    Iron IKE: No Place for Complacency on Days 1 or 100



    Story by Seaman Trent Hawkins 

    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)   

    Some Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) are used to the challenges that come with long periods of time without seeing family, friends or land. The deployment bestowed upon Ike came with its own sets of challenges brought on by the outbreak of the virus COVID-19. With over three months spent consecutively at sea, almost two months since land has graced the eyes of Sailors aboard Ike and the added concerns of a global pandemic on everyone’s mind, the environment is ripe for fear to take hold. These distractions lead to mistakes.

    The ship’s deployment resiliency counselor, safety and security departments weighed in on the dangers of being complacent during this time of strife.

    “When we started the underway in January, we were still in the training phase,” said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Kevin Kannally Security department’s training and antiterrorism leading petty officer. “Now we’re in 5th fleet, off the coast of real threats, and it’s a big change of pace for us.”

    The training phase Kannally referred to is the composite training unit exercise, or COMPTUEX, where Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10 went through a series of training exercises to test their mission readiness. COMPTUEX is the final training exercise before a strike group is considered ready to deploy. Ike deployed immediately following the completion of COMPTUEX with the rest of CSG-10.

    “There are four stages of learning, and those stages could be applied to the work everyone does aboard Ike,” said Donald Keck, Ike’s deployment resiliency counselor. “The first of those stages is unconscious-incompetence when you don’t know what you don’t know. Then there’s conscious-incompetence where you do know what you don’t know. After that, there’s conscious-competence where you’re pretty good at what you do, but you still gotta think about your task. Then there’s the last level, unconscious-competence when you don’t have to think anymore. That’s like walking, talking, breathing even. This is where complacency comes in. Your brain is running on automatic. You want to be as good at a task as you can be, yes, but you don’t want to be so good that you forget how important and dangerous it is.”

    Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Jamorn Driver, Safety department’s departmental leading chief petty officer, said everyone’s comfortable and has formed a routine. He said every day is like Monday, and Sailors get comfortable despite working in a dangerous environment because they’ve been doing it every day for the past 100 days. They relax their senses because it becomes normal.

    “If we make a mistake, especially with the threats we have out here, it could cause someone to lose their life,” said Kannally. “There’s a lot of real threats, as shown by the small boats, air contacts and other surface contacts we’ve been having. If we relax ourselves, if we get complacent, that’s when the enemy catches us: while we’re off-guard.”

    Kannally is referring to countries in the 5th Fleet area of operation who have shown hostile action in the past that threatened maritime security. Complacency can open Ike to similar attacks that could be otherwise prevented with proper precaution.

    “At 100 days at sea, complacency has to be anticipated,” said Keck. “The command has recognized this and is doing their best to add variety to a monotonous routine. The crew has gotten very good, very efficient and operate at a very high level, which is terrific but we’re still looking at a high potential for injury. The task we’re facing now is adding variety to our daily routine. If you’re getting so good at something that you stop thinking about it, then mistakes are going to happen because you’re not paying attention. It’s time to change your routine.”

    With the challenge of monotony brought on by this extended at-sea period and other challenges brought on by this deployment, Driver suggests changing shifts, taking breaks and training occasionally to remind Sailors that there are still dangers to what they do.

    “The best way to avoid complacency is to remember how dangerous your job is,” said Driver. “Even when doing something as simple as moving boxes during a working party, remember you can still get hurt. You’re still vulnerable. Pay attention to your surroundings, and stay focused on the task.”



    Date Taken: 04.23.2020
    Date Posted: 05.25.2020 05:52
    Story ID: 370716
    Location: ARABIAN SEA

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