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Naval Submarine School
Strength as Well as Speed Found in Combining Similar Classes

by Robert Hamilton
Day Staff Writer

Groton — The one-room schoolhouse is back, at least for sailors in three previously separate training pipelines.

The Submarine Learning Center has determined there are so many common elements of training for apprentice fire control technicians, sonar technicians and electronics technicians, sailors in those specialties will train in a single classroom for much of their course.

The SLC has also adopted more computer-based and simulator training that has helped to shorten the time it takes to get sailors to the fleet, and a strategy of training sailors in the three fields as a team, much as they will work together on the ships they will eventually join in the fleet.

Now instead of a 22-week program in sonar, a 32-week program for electronics technicians and a 20-week program for fire control, all the sailors will finish in 18 weeks, and the first class to graduate this month showed a marked edge over previous classes.

“We're training the sailors to the standards where they're expected to be when they're in the fleet,” said Chief Petty Officer Steven Craddock.

The demonstration project has worked so well, the “Learning Center Content Style Guide” has become a prototype for the Navy's “Revolution in Training” initiative.

“It originated here, but it's now being used throughout the Navy, because it works,” said one of the authors, Leslie Lucas of Sonalysts Inc., senior instructional designer on the project. “This is sort of like a cookbook for developing content from beginning to end, for online as well as instructor-led sections.”

Chief Petty Officer Ronald Bergeron said the program is viewed as particularly successful because while in the past it has taken up to two years to change a course, this effort was accomplished in less than a year.

Now the Learning Center is prepared to launch into its next phase, training intermediate-level sailors, probably by early next year, he said.

That training will be offered online at seven remote locations, to deliver it when and where it is needed, and in smaller “chunks,” perhaps a week here and a week there, instead of pulling an experienced sailor off a boat for 20 weeks at a time.

Bergeron said the Learning Center is also looking at exporting some of the lessons to other Navy communities.

About 40 percent of the curriculum, for instance, is common to sailors in surface and aviation units — learning how to diagnose problems with a circuit board, for instance, is the same whether the board comes out of a submarine sonar or a helicopter flight control system.

“Now that we've developed the content and the interactive media, it makes sense to offer it to anyone else who can take it and use it,” Bergeron said.

The driving force behind the program, all agreed, was Capt. Arnold O. Lotring, who commanded Naval Submarine School for two years and was selected two years ago to establish the Submarine Learning Center to oversee all submarine training and education.

Lotring has long been an advocate of using technology to improve the quality of training, while reducing the cost.

Key to the new program is the computer training portion, which will encompass 96 of the 190 topics covered during the 18 weeks.

About one-third of the course will be taught in simulators, and the remainder, about 16 percent, in the traditional classrooms.

Online learning consists of a series of modules that take the typical student about an hour to complete, and then tests them to make sure they are ready to move on.

“It allows kids who need more help to take their time with a topic, and it doesn't affect the progress of the rest of the class,” said Charles “Chip” Dye of Sonalysts. “In no way are we removing the military role model or instructor from the picture, though. What we're doing is freeing them to actually supervise and evaluate the training.”

He said instructors played a key role in the development of the content, even helping to draft “storyboards” that were templates for the computerized lessons.

“This was no a solution imposed on anyone,” Dye said.

Chief Petty Officer Everett Clark, who manages the 44 instructors and three supervisors in the course, said some instructors were a bit wary of such a significant change, but after watching students make their way through the first 18-week session, he's a believer.

“Eventually the product we're going to put out in the fleet is going to surpass anything that we've seen before,” Clark said. “It is new, but we're at the point now, if you can't deal with it, you're going to get run over.”


---Mr. Hamilton’s account originally appeared in the August 21, 2005 edition of The Day of New London, Connecticut, and is reproduced here with their kind permission.


Submarine Communications Electronic Rating Field, SCERF, Combined Graduation

Twenty Sailors, "Class 14RO-09-05, and twenty-three from "Class 14RO-09-06", graduated from the Submarine Communications Electronic Rating Field, SCERF, Apprentice Course in a combined graduation exercise on Thursday, 30 July.

SCERF, through the employment of Interactive Media, enhances the various sub-courses of Pipeline Technical Training, PTT.

ETC (SS) Michael Watson and ET2 (SS) Todd Amick were academic instructors for Class 14RO-09-05 and ET1 (SS) Brian Moore and ET2 (SS) Michael Morris were military training instructors.

For Class 14RO-09-06, Moore and Amick were joined by ET1 (SS) Carl Duerson as academic instructors while Moore and ET1 (SS) Gary Stephenson were the military training instructors.

ETSN Nathan Varner was Class 14RO-09-05 Honorman and ETSN Yamyl Rodriguez achieved the same honor for Class 14RO-09-06.

ETSA Austin Mannick, ETSN Steven Warden and ETSA Jared Steen were Graduates with Distinction.

Submarine Communications Electronic Rating Field, SCERF is a twenty-week course of instruction encompassing Exterior Communications Subsystem (ECS); Electronics Surveillance Measures, ESM, Operations; Exterior Communications Subsystems, ECS, Fundamentals; Extremely High Frequency, EHF, Operations and Exterior Communications Subsystems, ECS, Operations.

Combat Systems
Basic Maintenance Course Graduation

Twelve Sailors of "Class 02040" graduated from Combat Systems Basic Maintenance Course on Friday, 2 August.

FT1 (SS) James Johnson was class instructor.

FTSN Christopher Graham was Class Honorman.

Combat Systems Basic Maintenance is a ten week school of advanced training which combines the theory, operation and basic maintenance of all submarine fire control systems. Students also receive instruction in the 3M system, submarine tagout procedures and basic combat systems troubleshooting.

Sonar Maintenance "C" School

SONAR Maintenance "C" School Pipeline Technical Training provides the theory and skills to perform various basic and advanced maintenance procedures on all AN/BQQ-10, AN/BSY-1, AN/BSY-2, ARCHITECTURE and AN/BQQ-5 (Retained Equipment)for the SSN, SSGN and SSBN Submarine Platforms.

Maintenance procedures cover retained equipment of the Acoustic Sets as well as full Legacy replacement platforms. Providing the Submarine Sonar Technician with the knowledge and skills necessary to operate and perform documented preventive and corrective maintenance on the Sonar System under all conditions of readiness, in port and underway.

Individual Schools vary from three to thirteen weeks via a blended training environment of Instructor Led and Interactive Multimedia Instruction topics.

Fire Control Maintenance "C" School

Fire Control Maintenance "C" School Pipeline Technical Training provides basic and advanced maintenance training for the Virginia and Los Angeles Class Submarines. Maintenance training curriculums available include AN/BYG-1(V)1 Combat Control Operations, AN/BYG-1(V)1 Combat Control Maintenance, AN/BYG-1(V)3/4 Combat Control Maintenance and Submarine Local Area Network (SUBLAN) and Non-Tactical Data Processing Subsystem (NTDPS).

Individual course lengths vary from 1 to 4 weeks via a blended training environment of Instructor Led and Interactive Multimedia Instruction topics.

Electronic Support Measures (ESM)
Course Graduation

Nineteen Sailors of "Class 05030" graduated from Electronic Support Measures (ESM) course on Friday, 20 May.

ET1 (SS) Adam Owens, ET1 (SS) James Long, ET2 (SS) Andrew Kudla and ET2 (SS) Silas McNeil were class instructors.

ETSN Anthony Feenstra was Class Honorman.

Electronic Support Measures is a ten-week course combining theory and hands-on operational training of all ESM related equipment.

Exterior Communications Subsystems
Fundamentals Graduation

Twenty-four students of "Class 14TO-06-3" graduated from the Exterior Communications Subsystems (ECS) Fundamentals Course Wednesday, 22 March.

ET2 (SS) Christopher Thompson was class instructor and MM1 (SS) Jared Baltazor was company commander.

>ETSA Adam Stahr was Class Honorman and ETSA Robert Collum was Class Leader.

Exterior Communications Subsystems (ECS) Fundamentals is a two-week course specializing in the setup and operation of communications equipment onboard a 688-Class submarine radio room, as part of a larger and more intense training pipeline that begins with a shared curriculum of ET Core and then proceeds to specialized training.

Extremely High Frequency (EHF)
Operator Course Graduation

Eighteen Sailors of "Class 05120" graduated from the Extremely High Frequency (EHF) Operator Course Friday, 29 July.

ET1 (SS) James Rogers, ET2 (SS) Tony Duffy and ET2 (SS) Jeffrey Hawk were instructors.

MM1 (SS) Jared Baltazor was the military training instructor.

ETSN Travis Reed was both Class Honorman and Class Leader

Extremely High Frequency Operator is three weeks in length, specializing in the setup and operation of the Navy EHF Satellite Program (NESP) communications equipment onboard both 688-Class and Trident-Class submarine radio rooms.

Navigation Principles Course Graduation

Twenty Sailors of "Class 02006" graduated from Navigation Principles on Wednesday, 19 December.

ET1 (SS) Ronald Brown was the class instructor.

Graduates included: ETSR Emanual Butler, ETSR Jayson Sapp, ETSA James Sprinkle, ETSN Nicholas Russell, ET3 Ryan Gardner, ETSR Brandon Briley, ETSA Denne Martin, ETSA Jarrett Gayl, ETSR Jere Booker, ETSA Brian Clegg, ETSA Jesse Bemrich, ETSA Lucas Harris, ETSN Chris Born, ETSA Phillip Patrick, ETSR Stephen Snow, ETSA Tristan Rorie, ETSR John Miller, ET3 Michael Shaw, ETSN Colt Schofield, and ETSN Randy Hinojos

Navigation Principles is an intense five-week course leading future submarine Electronics Technicians through the world of submarine navigation, to include basic concepts, rules and principles involved with submarine navigation. Subject areas feature: preparation for piloting in restricted waters and voyage planning; recognition of navigation aids; operating a vessel in accordance with Coast Guard navigation rules as well as honors and ceremonies, navigation administration and operations unique to the U.S. Submarine Force.

Navigation Operator Course Graduation

Nineteen Sailors of "Class 02010" graduated from the Navigation Operator Course, Monday, 22 April.

ET1 (SS) Ronald Berge, ET1 (SS) Larry Rogers, ET1 (SS) Timothy Fisher, ET1 (SS) Robert Bell and ET2 (SS) Reginald Andrews were instructors.

ETC (SS) Sandy Wilkins was company commander.

ET3 Brian Vollman was Class Honorman.

ETSA Dennis Tam was named Graduate with Distinction.

Navigation Operator is a seven-week course providing introductory concepts, rules and principles for the operation and preventative maintenance of the WRN-6 GPS Navigation Set, the AN/WSN-3 Electrically Suspended Gyro Navigation System and the AN/WRN-7A Ring Laser Gyro Navigation System.