IT2 Jason Clarkson conducts general military training on suicide prevention in the training complex aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.

Story and photo by MC3 Kenneth Abbate

Training is an ongoing process throughout a Sailor’s career, so USS John C. Stennis’ Training Department recently implemented a program in line with a new Navy instruction.

The Navy’s reorganization of annually required general military training (GMT) highlights topics that will help develop positive characteristics in Sailors.

The policy, outlined in NAVADMIN 098/10, emphasizes the importance of courses run by instructors, providing a more constructive learning environment for students.

“The crew of John C. Stennis adapted quickly to the new training requirements,” said Ship’s Training Officer Lt. Cmdr. Francis Brown. “With the new instructor-led courses, Sailors will be encouraged to ask question and participate, directly contributing to a better training experience rather than the previous means of training delivered at the individual level on the NKO computer-based systems.”

Stennis Sailors who know about the change anticipate a more effective training program.

“You can just click through a lot of NKO courses,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician Airman Bryan Stanton. “Classes taught by instructors force you to participate, and I think most people absorb more information that way.”

While most training topics will remain a part of the regular training schedule, three subjects (hazing policy and prevention, fraternization awareness and prevention, and homosexual policy) were removed from the list but are still required for Sailors who plan on re-enlisting as of fiscal year 2010.

“These topics are obviously still extremely important and have been aligned for completion during a Sailor’s re-enlistment process,” said Brown. “Re-enlistment is an extremely important event in a Sailor’s career, and tying these topics into the re-enlistment training ensures that they receive the appropriate reinforcement at a critical time.”

“It seems to me the Navy realized they were wasting many man hours conducting training for individuals who have received the training multiple times,” said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Courtney Koenig. “The annual training was aimed at new Sailors, and the specified training is conducted at boot camp. A refresher training every few years makes more sense and doesn’t waste anyone’s time.”

Stennis’ Training Department has also incorporated several recommended training topics, such as Suicide Prevention and Personally Identifiable Information Assurance, which have been scheduled to coincide with certain periods throughout the year.

“The GMT topics line up well with certain events in the calendar and the ship’s cycle,” said Brown. “For instance, the holiday period is traditionally the time of the year when more suicides occur, so it makes perfect sense to get our awareness levels up to be able to identify risk factors and signs to help combat the problem.”

Whether Sailors are new or “salty,” the guidance provided in GMTs creates a stronger, more informed fleet that is better suited to successfully complete missions across the globe.