Gerald R. Ford crew passes first general quarters drill

The crew of the U.S. Navy’s next aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) held their first all-hands general quarters (GQ) damage control drill February 4.

General Quarters, Battle Stations, or Action Stations is an announcement made aboard a naval warship to signal the all hands aboard a ship to battle stations as quickly as possible.

Damage Controlman 1st Class Letitia McKelvey said“GQ is a meeting of the minds. It allows departments who don’t normally work together a chance to become a team. They build teamwork and learn how to rely on each other for help.”

This teamwork is important when a ship is underway. At sea, Sailors are responsible for all shipboard efforts. There is no other support coming to aid in damage control efforts. The crew itself serves as fire department, hospital and any other emergency response personnel who would usually be called upon.

During the GQ drill, Ford Sailors conducted training with damage control and medical training props, while others responded to simulations of shipboard emergencies.

Damage Controlman 1st Ryan Vanderstouw said: “This GQ was a major milestone for Ford because it pushes the ship significantly forward in preparation for Crew Certification 2 and being able to get the ship underway and out of the shipyards.”

Ford is currently under construction at Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding.

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