USS Iwo Jima Starts ‘101 Critical Days of Summer’

Sailors and Marines aboard multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) are participating in ‘101 critical days of summer,’ a campaign which runs from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

The campaign helps raise awareness in order to prevent possible mishaps that can happen to service members during the summer months. Sponsored by the Naval Safety Center, the program traditionally focuses on motor vehicle safety, water safety, alcohol awareness, sexual assault and suicide awareness.

The safety office is working with all departments to ensure that the missions and evolutions are completed safely and properly,” said Lt. Christopher Neboshynsky, Iwo Jima’s safety officer.

With Iwo Jima currently deployed in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility, it is vital that the crew prepare themselves.

“Being deployed to an area where the heat and humidity are higher than back home, we should be extra vigilant in our daily endeavors and in our work environment,” said Neboshynsky.

While the campaign focuses on mostly outdoor activities, the safety team’s primary focus is deployment concerns: staying hydrated, use of proper gear when participating in sports, safe and responsible consumption of alcohol on liberty and preventing work place mishaps.

“When participating in outdoor activities, Sailors and Marines should be careful, take breaks, hydrate and wear sunscreen,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Alexander Mabile, Iwo Jima’s independent duty corpsman. “Fatigue is the main factor involved in a majority of incidents.”

The medical department onboard Iwo Jima recommends every Sailor and Marine drink 32 ounces of water a day to stay hydrated. For those working in hotter than normal environments, the recommended amount increases to 64-72 ounces per day. Soda is not considered a form of hydration.

“Hydration is one of the most important factors in our everyday work especially in the hot environment we are operating in. Because many of us are not acclimated to the local climate we should be careful to not over-exert ourselves,” said Mabile.

One of the ship’s missions while deployed is promoting diplomacy abroad. The crew of Iwo Jima is charged with being ambassadors for the United States and setting good examples while on liberty.

“We encourage the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) team to follow the Navy’s policy for safe and responsible consumption of alcohol and to take care of one another while on liberty,” said Neboshynsky.

Neboshynsky expressed that everyone on board should follow established and written procedures because taking shortcuts can lead to injuries or worse.

“Every Sailor and Marine onboard has a role to play in completing the ship’s mission. We need for them to carry out that mission safely and bring everyone home,” said Neboshynsky.

Iwo Jima and embarked 24th MEU are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Naval Today Staff, June 19, 2012