2. All US Navy sailors received training in firefighting
In 1967 a major fire on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal killed 134 men, injured 161 others, and caused millions of dollars of damage to the ship, as well as the loss of 21 aircraft. In the aftermath, a film of the fire and the efforts to control it, including the many mistakes made, became required viewing for all US Navy recruits. Firefighting and basic damage control training became a part of the new sailor’s basic training, conducted in realistic environments designed to simulate compartments and decks aboard ship. Recruits were familiarized with the basic firefighting and damage control equipment, including breathing apparatus, during initial training at boot camp.
Basic firefighting training in the Navy was just one of the many lessons learned during combat operations which were used to modify training for future recruits. Lessons from fires changed training for the Army and Air Force as well. The majority of Navy recruits attended additional schools following boot camp as part of their specialty training, where often additional training in firefighting and damage control, as it applied to specialized equipment, was part of the curriculum. Recruits assigned directly to fleet units thus arrived at their new command with fundamental firefighting training, and were expected to quickly familiarize themselves with the location of all firefighting and damage control equipment available at their assignment.