USS Arlington Launches Division in the Spotlight

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Brown navy.mil

PASCAGOULA, Miss. – The crew of USS Arlington (LPD 24), which is under construction at Huntington-Ingall’s Industries’ shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., started their command self-assessment program “Division in the Spotlight” (DITS) the week of Feb. 4 – 8, 2013.

DITS is employed on Navy ships across the fleet to measure and uphold material, administrative, training, medical, dental, supply, retention and personnel readiness – all essential to keeping units combat-capable.

USS Arlington’s Quartermaster Seaman Apprentice Rashaun Plowden renders a salute to Commanding Officer Cmdr. Darren Nelson during a Division in the Spotlight uniform inspection on Feb. 6, 2013.

USS Arlington’s Quartermaster Seaman Apprentice Rashaun Plowden renders a salute to Commanding Officer Cmdr. Darren Nelson during a Division in the Spotlight uniform inspection on Feb. 6, 2013.

“DITS allows us to divide the ship into manageable chunks, and being able to focus on a smaller scale rather than trying to assess the whole ship all at once, we can provide each division all the attention they deserve,” said the amphibious transport dock’s executive officer, Lt. Cmdr. Eric Lull.

According to the Arlington instruction governing the command’s program, DITS is a comprehensive and rigorous self-assessment tool intended to “challenge the managerial abilities of even the most competent and seasoned Division Officer/Division Chief.”

Led by Lt. (J.G.) Martin Dineen, Arlington’s Navigation Division was the first of the ship’s 20 divisions selected for DITS.

“Our commanding officer performed a 3M [Maintenance and Material Management] inspection, and a zone inspection of all of our spaces, which includes the bridge, signal bridge and adjacent weather deck spaces,” the division officer said. “Additionally, other leaders and experts on the ship who are in charge of pertinent programs are reviewing the Navigation Division and its activities, to ensure we are in compliance with all Navy rules and regulations.”

These inspections included electrical safety checks of the parts of the ship assigned to the division, verification of Sailors’ security clearances, scans of divisional computers and profiles to ensure information assurance compliance, reviews of Sailors’ pay and allowances, watch qualifications and much more. Arlington Commanding Officer Cmdr. Daren Nelson also conducted a personnel inspection of the Navigation Division’s 11 Sailors, who wore their dress blues for the occasion.

“This gives our Sailors the opportunity to get some face-time with the captain without the rest of their chain of command present, so they can speak directly to him about what is on their minds,” Dineen explained.

DITS is an integral part of maintaining mission readiness, because it provides an opportunity “for a different set of eyes to view each division’s equipment, personnel, administration and procedures on a recurring basis,” Nelson noted. “When you look at something every day, sometimes you don’t notice things changing that easily.

“By taking the time and effort to look at each aspect of each division aboard Arlington in fine detail, we are ensuring everything is operating properly.”

The ship is named for Arlington County, Va., home of the Pentagon, in honor of the 184 victims and heroes who lost their lives during the terrorist attack there on 9-11.

Arlington is the eighth in Navy’s San Antonio class of ships, designed to be the most survivable amphibious vessels ever put to sea. The third in the U.S. fleet to bear the name, Arlington will be commissioned on April 6, 2013 and homeported in Norfolk, Va. The ship combines 21st century amphibious shipbuilding and warfighting technologies to support current and future Marine Corps aircraft and landing craft, and will be capable of taking nearly 1,200 Sailors and Marines into harm’s way.

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