Mission to Africa – Getting ship shape

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Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk perform general emergency drills while underway to West Africa. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)
Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk perform general emergency drills while underway to West Africa. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)

June 21 – 25, 2010

Week two of being underway on the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, we are still cruising along in the Atlantic very excited to reach land and our first port call. This week, we are preparing for our port calls and painting the main passageway. Taping off, sanding down and painting, everyone is helping out. The engineers and deckies are working together to make the ship beautiful.

Seaman Shelly Jamison, a crewmember aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, paints a door in the main passageway in preparation for port calls in West Africa. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)
Seaman Shelly Jamison, a crewmember aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, paints a door while underway. The Mohawk crew is painting the main passageway in preparation for their port calls in West Africa. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)

Luckily, painting isn’t the only thing going on; the new and temporary duty crewmembers are working on getting qualified for watches by doing their damage control personal qualification standards. In the evenings, a couple times a week, there is damage control jeopardy to help everyone learn the ship and how to handle situations when alarms go off.

“The Damage Control organization is like a volunteer fire department. Everyone has their regular jobs onboard but when a disaster strikes all hands respond to the casualty,” said Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Green, the Mohawk’s Main Propulsion Assistant. DCPQS is the tool we use to train the crew in different levels of that response. Crewmembers go through weeks of classroom and hands-on training to learn to fight fires, stop flooding, provide first aid and many other jobs that are necessary to keep Mohawk mission-capable.”

This week, we also started our group workout classes on the flight deck to help everyone get in shape or stay in shape while underway. There are classes in the morning, afternoon and evening so everyone who wants to participate can. The ship’s health promotion coordinators are holding a biggest loser competition to see who can lose the most body-fat percentage during the Africa Command Deployment. It’s a friendly competition to help anyone who is interested lose weight in a healthy way and develop healthy habits.  

Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk do an afternoon abdominal workout to stay in shape while underway. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)
Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk do an afternoon abdominal workout to stay in shape while underway. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)

“Working out is one of the most beneficial and important things a sailor can do underway. It helps manage stress, relieve tension, and improve oneself. Many sailors use it as a way to pass the time, forget about the stress of the day, or add a sense of normalcy to their months away from family life,” said Ensign Colin Fogarty, the Mohawk’s unit health promotion coordinator. 

To top-off our very productive week we established our goals for the Africa Command Deployment. While deployed for the next few months we will endeavor to:

Use this experience and the time we are deployed to grow personally and professionally; see places we have never seen before and may never see again;
Take in new cultures and experiences we have never encountered before; make the world a smaller place by meeting new friends and professional colleagues and building relationships with our maritime partners;
Help achieve strategic goals throughout the region by setting the standard for professional engagement, seamanship and operational excellence; and
Bring the spirit of Key West’s motto “One Human Family” to every aspect of our engagement with the people of Africa.

Keeping checking the Coast Guard Compass for more Mohawk updates and photos. Photos from the trip will continue to be posted in this Flickr gallery.

PA3 Victoria Bonk, CGC Mohawk

Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk practice their law enforcement training on the flight deck. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)
Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk practice their law enforcement training on the flight deck. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)

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