Working the Nightshift on the USS JOHN C. STENNIS: Implications for Enhancing Warfighter Effectiveness
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEPT OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH
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For over three decades, the U.S. Navy has employed a unique approach to fatigue management for carrier operations. This technique uses two aircraft carriers and allows them to share the responsibility of around-the-clock flight operations. Crewmembers aboard one carrier work primarily the day shift while crewmembers aboard the other carrier work the night shift. U.S. Naval forces, carrying out air strikes against targets in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, recently employed such a procedure to support 24-hour air operations. Beginning January 2002, primary responsibility for carrier-based night air operations was assigned to the USS John C. Stennis. A major concern was whether sailors required to work night shift had adjusted to this inverted workrest cycle and were getting adequate sleep. The results presented here indicate that reversing the workrest cycle had a profound effect on the sleep patterns and the reported fatigue levels of the sailors. A large number of the participants in this study reported that they had not adjusted to this reversed schedule, even after being on the schedule for over 30 days. There were also unexpected differences in the quality and quantity of sleep between those working topside compared to those working belowdecks. The study also discusses how improved sleep and schedule management can enhance human performance.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Stress Physiology