USS Mesa Verde Reaches Qualification Level Milestone

USS Mesa Verde Reaches Qualification Level Milestone

USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) celebrated its 131st Sailor to qualify as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) since deploying in February, bringing the overall qualification level of the ship to 83 percent.


The high percent of qualification is not only a milestone for the ship, but for the Sailors as well, as many feel becoming ESWS qualified is one way to improve and their naval career in a significant way. In accordance with NAVADMIN 268/10, the Navy mandates that all Sailors receive their primary warfare pin no later than 30 months after reporting aboard a warfare qualifying command.

“It is more than doing your required qualifications, it is about the ship’s survivability,” said Electronics Technician 1st Class Sean Spitzer, one of the command ESWS coordinators. “It is big for a Sailor’s career. This program is one that a Sailor both needs to and should want to do.”

The ESWS program aims to provide Sailors with basic knowledge about the ship to which they are assigned, from damage control to engineering and combat systems to ship operations. The program also includes naval history and heritage to help Sailors gain a better perspective about the Navy.

Prior to deployment, the ship’s Command Master Chief (CMC) David Twiford and command coordinators Chief Hospital Corpsman Justin Rains, Electronics Technician 1st Class Sean Spitzer and Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class Eugene Williams took on the task of redeveloping the program. They looked for opportunities to improve the ability of Sailors to both learn and retain information in a way that would conform to a busy deployment schedule.

“We took everything and made it a more clear and concise outline for Sailors to follow,” said Rains.

Before beginning the ESWS program, Sailors have to complete pre-requisite training in general shipboard living, including quarterdeck watches, fire fighting, pipe patching, maintenance and sentry guard lookout. When Sailors have learned these basic core elements, they move on to training sessions focusing on the fundamentals of each department and collecting signatures on their Personnel Qualification Standard (PQS). These signatures mark their progress through the departments and prove the required training has been completed.

“It is hard and it is supposed to be hard,” said Spitzer. “Sailors are supposed to learn a lot, and retain a lot, of information to help the overall war fighting capability of the ship.”

Mesa Verde is a part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Press Release, August 12, 2014; Image: Wikimedia