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Protecting the Ship: USS Nimitz Sailors Train to Be Ready

by MC3 Jacquelyn Childs

Sailors in USS Nimitz’ (CVN 68) Security Department train hard to protect everyone on board the aircraft carrier at all times. Part of staying vigilant is sustainment training like the one security held in hangar bay two May 9. This particular training covered the basics and was geared toward the newer personnel so they are able to build the muscle memory needed to react to a situation on the spot.

Engineman 3rd Class Adolfo Sandoval demonstrates Mechanical Advantage Control Holds (MACH) on Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Julius Hawkins.

Sailors in USS Nimitz’ (CVN 68) Security Department train hard to protect everyone on board the aircraft carrier at all times. Part of staying vigilant is sustainment training like the one security held in hangar bay two May 9. This particular training covered the basics and was geared toward the newer personnel so they are able to build the muscle memory needed to react to a situation on the spot.

“We started with baton fundamentals,” said Master-at- Arms 2nd Class Louis Huante, anti-terrorism force protection petty officer and trainer. “The baton is used in our ladder of force as an intermediate weapon. For example, it would be used on a really aggressive person who’s not stopping at unarmed techniques like punches and kicks.”

Huante and other instructors demonstrated the four basic strikes with the baton: forward, reverse, mid-strike, and rear jab. They also taught the five basic blocks that can be used with the baton: high, low, weak, strong, and mid.

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class John Kuchler teaches Sailors Mechanical Advantage Control Holds (MACH)

“The purpose of blocking is so you can protect yourself from getting hit with an object or fist,” explained Huante.

After some practice with the baton, the group moved to Mechanical Advantage Control Holds (MACH).

“MACH is a series of unarmed self-defense techniques,” said Huante. “They are just basic fundamentals to subdue an individual that can be used to escort or take down.”

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class John Kuchler teaches Sailors Mechanical Advantage Control Holds (MACH) during security training aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). With the importance of this training, security tries to hold something similar to it as frequently as possible.

“We try to hold this type of sustainment training as often as we can,” said Huante. “We hold it at least quarterly but our field training officers (FTO) and watch commanders can and do try to hold training more often. If you don’t practice you’ll lose that muscle memory pretty quickly.”

According to Huante, security is holding this type of training even more frequently now due to the large amount of newer personnel being sent TAD to the department.

“We’ve got a lot of new personnel so that’s why we’re doing a lot of hands on training right now,” he said. “They won’t encounter this stuff on a daily basis. This is just in case they happen to be on watch that day when something does happen and they will be prepared.”

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Louis Huante demonstrates blocking techniques with a baton to security personnel.

Although it may not happen every day, Huante reminds his guys it does happen and you must be prepared.

“Just like anything you train for, when the situation arises, you don’t think, you just react,” he said. “You really have to rely on the training and motor skills.”

Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Christina Porter swings her baton back during security sustainment training.

Huante’s first experience utilizing this type of training in a real situation was at Diego Garcia when he was a Petty Officer 3rd Class. The individual refused to listen or adhere to orders to halt. He charged Huante who was forced to take him down to the ground with a MACH 2.

With all the training that takes place on board, training officers and watch coordinators feel those Sailors working with Security Department are fully prepared for whatever situations arise.

“I feel confident in the guys I work with,” said Engineman 3rd Class Adolfo Sandoval, section one FTO. “There have been instances where they’ve had to do some take down or cuffing procedures and did well.”

With the preparedness of the Security Department, Sailors on board Nimitz can rest easy knowing they are under a watchful eye in port or at sea.

“As someone told me, inport or underway, we’re the ship’s first line of defense. If anything happens on the ship, we will be able to respond,” said Sandoval.

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