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    Steadfast & Service-minded: USS Gerald R. Ford's Training Department’s Ongoing Mission



    Courtesy Story

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)           

    As Sailors aboard the world’s largest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) serve during the ship’s first deployment, the training department continues its mission, training Sailors for general quarters, introductory damage control qualifications tests, administering exams, coordinating travel to and from the ship, and hosting orientations for the more than 4,000 people aboard the ship.
    Lt. Cmdr. Kristin Hope, Gerald R. Ford’s training officer, oversees general quarters (GQ) trainings, which are held at least once every 30 days. Focusing on several different scenarios with a special emphasis on real world operations, the training department maintains mission readiness, guaranteeing that the various training teams are able to complete GQ training evolutions safely within the required time limit.
    “The training department is the lead on the Integrated Training Team,” said Hope. “We act as the coordinators to ensure that all those teams work together to create the most realistic drill possible. We are also responsible for meeting all of the training needs for each team during that training window.”
    Planning boards for training occur every Monday, which supports and maintains training for everything from small boat operations, to live-fire exercises, to firefighting evolutions. These weekly training sessions keep Gerald R. Ford ready for any actual casualty.
    While the ship is deployed, the training department continues to receive new Sailors, and all incoming Sailors attend a command orientation.
    Along with informing Sailors about the many services available to them aboard Gerald R. Ford, the command orientation process allows Sailors to meet not only subject matter experts, but also the triad. This sets expectations and gives the example for professionalism and excellence while serving on the ship.
    The training department administers the advancement exams for chief petty officers in January and the exams for junior enlisted twice a year. This large undertaking involves hundreds of Sailors, with tests being mailed to Pensacola for grading.
    Master Chief Operations Specialist Geraldo Anzaldo, training department leading chief petty officer, emphasized the commitment to customer service demonstrated by the training office aboard Gerald R. Ford. In particular, Anzaldo touted the variety of services provided by the Education Services Office.
    “We do our best to maximize the careers of our Sailors, ensuring they have the opportunity to meet all the requirements to advance,” said Anzaldo. “We offer information about ASVAB exams, college programs, and eligibility requirements to become an officer.”
    Sailors looking to further their educational and training goals are well-served onboard Gerald R. Ford, having 24-hour access to the Gerald and Betty Ford Memorial Library.
    “We have all sorts of study materials,” said Anzaldo. “We have a library that Sailors can use. We’re a training department, but more than that we’re a customer service department, and I want everyone onboard Ford to know that we’re here to help.”
    Lt. Brandon Washington, Education Services Officer, has a broad background as both an enlisted service member, having served as a yeoman, and now as an officer aboard Gerald R. Ford. His background gives him the insight to lead the training department to serve the advancement goals of all Sailors.
    “Since May, we have processed 40 enlisted-to-officer packages and we have had two Sailors make officer,” said Washington. “There are many paths to obtain degrees and additional training. The Navy now has a new United States Navy Community College program.”
    Eligible Sailors can also utilize tuition assistance to take college courses or CLEP exams through the training department.
    In addition to meeting the educational needs of Sailors, the training department coordinates travel for temporary assigned duty, medical leave, emergency leave, and any required government travel.
    The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) is conducting a scheduled deployment in U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, demonstrating the commitment and power projection capability of the Navy’s globally deployed force. The GRFCSG provides an inherently flexible naval force capable of deploying across combatant commands to meet emerging missions, deter potential adversaries, reassure allies and partners, enhance security and guarantee the free flow of global commerce. In total, the GRFCSG is deployed with more than 5,000 Sailors across all platforms ready to respond globally to combatant commander tasking.
    Gerald R. Ford is the U.S. Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier. As the first-in-class ship of Ford-class aircraft carriers, CVN 78 represents a generational leap in the U.S. Navy’s capacity to project power on a global scale. Ford-class aircraft carriers introduce 23 new technologies, including EMALS, AAG and Advanced Weapons Elevators. The new systems incorporated onto Ford-class ships are designed to deliver greater lethality, survivability and joint interoperability with a 20% smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier, paving the way forward for naval aviation.
    For more information about the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), visit and follow along on Facebook: @USSGeraldRFord, Instagram: @cvn78_grford, Twitter: @Warship_78, DVIDS and LinkedIn at USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).



    Date Taken: 12.29.2023
    Date Posted: 12.29.2023 14:08
    Story ID: 461026

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