Recruits learn to fight shipboard fires aboard USS Chief
Division 816 completed firefighting training at Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy’s only boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes, July 5.
The 84 recruits, on their sixth week of boot camp, were taught how to protect themselves from gas attacks and to fight shipboard fires in the USS Chief Fire Fighting trainer.
“The whole purpose of USS Chief is to introduce a recruit to the concepts of shipboard damage control, fire fighting and chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) defense,” said HT1 Patrick Whitmire, a high-risk instructor at USS Chief. “The most important thing a recruit needs to know when they complete fire fighting training here at USS Chief is how to properly handle a hose on board a ship and effectively combat a shipboard fire.”
Division 816 is part of the special warfare divisions now being stood up at RTC. Each of these “800” divisions are filled with Special Warfare Operator, Special Warfare Boat Operator, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Navy Diver candidates. Since 2005, the Navy has specifically recruited for these ratings.
“Even though some of us may not be part of the crew of a ship as a SEAL or boat operator, I think it’s still important to know this training,” said SR Noah Oliver, 22, from West Palm Beach, Fla. “We all need to know this training to graduate from RTC and become sailors and become part of the U. S. Navy. Everyone won’t make it in their special program to become SEALs or boat operators, those that don’t will be reclassified into different jobs in the Navy. Because of that, they’ll definitely need firefighting training. Even if we do make it through our SEAL or special boat training, there will be times we’ll be on a ship or submarine and might be called upon to fight a fire.”
USS Chief has been in operation since 1990 and more than 35,000 recruits are trained each year. Each recruit is given a basic orientation and starts with basic damage control. Discussions about buoyancy, compartmentalization and how to find their way around the ship with the compartment identification number system. This training gives the recruits a basic understanding on why it’s important to close a door or a hatch on board a ship.
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