I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the comment “I can’t wait for 2020 to be over and for 2021 to be here.”
While we’re hoping for an easier year ahead, the crew of the USS ILLINOIS have spent 2020 preparing for deployment in 2021. They are scheduled to leave port in February for a 6-month deployment.
Recently I participated in a virtual meeting where Commander Ron Hatt talked about all of the things that had to be accomplished this year in order to be properly prepared for a successful deployment. The submarine had to pass three major inspections to obtain certification on combat readiness, the ability to have safe nuclear reactor operations and to ensure proper supply management operations. In order to accomplish these goals, the crew has been participating in a Fleet Responsive Training Plan for the last 12-13 months.
While doing this training, new personnel arrived to serve on the USS ILLINOIS as former crew members transferred to other submarines or detached from military service. COVID has made training more difficult. It’s hard to keep social distances when you have a crew of 130 in a confined area. It’s even harder to build the comradery that increases team effectiveness.
Picture Source: Positively Naperville