Shipmates taking care of shipmates

By: CAPT Kurt Scott

Earlier this month, the world remembered a tragic day in American history — October 12, 2000 — the bombing of the USS Cole (DDG-67). Remembering that day made me reflect on how our world has changed and yet how some things remain steady; like the commitment of shipmates to each other which has never wavered.

Petty Officer 1st Class Daren Jones, Operations Specialist on the USS Cole at the time of the attack, shared his experiences. “I was scared just like everyone else [but] your training kicks in. Everyone acted with the same amount of bravery, the same amount of courage, the same amount of determination. It was amazing.”

Like the training that propelled the USS Cole crew to perform in a time of high-stress and uncertainty, Operational Stress Control (OSC) skills training facilitates conversations about stress awareness and strategies for stress navigation in both oneself and their shipmates.  It’s about having the ‘tools in the toolbox’ for those unexpected moments in both your Navy career and personal life.

Training, while it may feel cumbersome at times, is what keeps our ships and shipmates operating safely in rough seas and calm waters. The recently released NAVADMIN 262/13 requires OSC skills training within six months of deployment after January 1, 2014. MANY commands have already incorporated stress navigation training and tools into their deployments… and have reported great results!

In May 2013, the USS Stout (DDG-55) completed OSC skills training. Now, after more than two months at sea, Shipmates continue to THRIVE with Skipper, CDR Alpigini, reporting “we’re keeping everyone active and being creative about building resilience.  Most importantly, the team has the skills to identify problems amongst each other and knows how to direct Sailors to the right resources like Chaps, Doc, XO, CO, etc.” Learn about Stout’s creative approaches to stress navigation on its Facebook page.

A recent Navy News Service story highlighted the successes aboard the USS Boxer (LHD- 4) where its leadership worked to implement elements of an OSC program. BRAVO ZULU to the crew for recognizing the importance of stress navigation and taking on its very own local initiative, conducted in parallel with the OSC skills training mandate, to leverage local resources and execute the fundamental steps of a successful OSC program. Check out its Facebook page to follow their journey!

Many more ships throughout the fleet have reaped the benefits of OSC skills training over the past several years, and the sky is the limit. How has OSC training impacted your ship?

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