Story by PO2 Ryan Seelbach on 09/17/2019FORD CONDUCTS FIRST OVERNIGHT FAST CRUISE DURING PSA
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Seelbach
USS Gerald R. Ford Public Affairs
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. Sailors aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) are one step closer to their return to sea with the ship's first overnight fast cruise of Ford's post-shakedown availability (PSA) Sept. 17.
Fast cruise is a simulated underway, designed to prepare the crew for an operational mindset and set the expectations of Ford while underway.
Ford's Command Master Chief De'Andre Beaufort said that as he walked the ship, it was exciting to see quality training being held to get Ford Sailors ready for sea.
"I had the opportunity to walk around today and saw a lot of Sailors doing damage control training. In the hangar bay, V3 division was simulating aircraft fire fighting and down in the main engine spaces Sailors were conducting training on equipment."
Beaufort also said, "the biggest thing is we must get our ship underway. So that we can start operating and show the Navy that, hey the Gerald R. Ford is back in the fight and ready to go'."
Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Kara Parker, from Dainger Field, Texas, assigned to Ford's combat systems department, explained that this is her first simulated an underway and she is looking to grow from it.
"I'm excited because this is my first overnight fast cruise. I know that there will be drills and other things coming at me but I'm hoping to take away new knowledge and learn what to do in certain situations that I can use during a real underway or a real deployment," said Parker.
Lt. Cmdr. Nick Devorak, from Okay, Oklahoma, Ford's training officer, said that these types of exercises are what get Sailors proficient at their respective jobs.
"It prepares them by completing repetitions on evolutions they will conduct while underway, that way the first time we go out to sea, it's not the first time they are experiencing it. It lets them put aside some of the anxiety that's built up for the unknown, get some experience and get more comfortable to build that muscle memory," said Devorak.
By continually conducting training, drills and testing, Ford Sailors have the opportunity to keep learning and improving on their skill sets.
"We want to make sure people are progressing, making improvements and not making the same mistakes over and over again. It's not going to be perfect because we are still in the training mindset, but we want to correct any mistakes, learn from what we're doing and adjust so for the next time we can be better," said Devorak.
Ford will keep training and preparing Sailors and their families for the end of PSA and for her eventual return to sea.
Gerald R. Ford is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new aircraft carrier designed in more than 40 years. Ford is currently undergoing its post-shakedown availability at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding.
For more news from USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), visit www.dvidshub.net/unit/CVN78 or www.facebook.com/USSGeraldRFord