Whether caused by engagement with the enemy, shipboard accidents and mishaps, or even harsh environmental conditions, all fleet vessels in the U.S. Navy will, at some point in their service life, take some type of damage. Controlling the extent and severity of that damage and training fellow Sailors in emergency damage-control operations—including defensive measures against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks—is the job of Sailors who have chosen a career in the Damage Controlman (DC) rating.
Following basic Recruit Training, future Damage Controlmen attend the Basic Engineering Common Core (BECC) and Class “A” DC School at Naval Station Great Lake in Illinois. Here they are introduced to basic mechanical theory and the principles of technical documentation, and begin to become intimately familiar with shipboard damage-control such as firefighting equipment, ventilation and sprinkler systems, drainage and desmoking equipment, breathing apparatuses, and more. Training consists of group instruction, self-paced learning, and hands-on work that gives them a chance to try out the practical applications of the theories they’ve learned.
The DC rating is sea-intensive, and the first billet for graduates of the “A” School will be aboard a ship deployed in the United States or abroad. Over the course of a twenty-year Naval career, Damage Controlmen can expect to spend about two-thirds of their time at sea.