You learn in the U.S. Armed Forces that your leaders often invoke the "other duties as assigned" clause in your job description. As a young commissaryman seaman on board the USS Cocopa (ATF-101) I was the sight setter on the ship's 3-inch 50-caliber dual purpose gun during general quarters. I also cleaned the Supply Division berthing compartment and maintained the division's fire fighting equipment -- all during my "off duty" hours.
The U.S. Navy has very few "professional" firefighters on its ships. These men and women -- members of a rating called damage controlman -- form the core of the ship's damage control teams. The teams are filled with "volunteers" -- like the culinary specialist pictured here -- from the crew.
SOUTH CHINA SEA (Feb. 2, 2009) -- Culinary Specialist Seaman Jermaine Jefferson braces for shock during a general quarters drill aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). Harpers Ferry is en route to participate in Exercise Cobra Gold 2009, an annual Thailand and U.S. co-sponsored multinational exercise designed to train Thai, U.S. and Singaporean military personnel.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew R. White.
Divide and Conquer
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