Two U.S. Navy aircraft carriers took significant steps in the next phases of their mission-readiness during a major ammunition movement, July 16.
Through a collaborative effort between USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and the Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12), Truman off-loaded more than 1,200 tons of ordnance, during connected (CONREP) and vertical (VERTREP) replenishments in preparation of her upcoming scheduled maintenance period. TR received about 100 tons of the ordnance from Truman, with the rest going to McLean.
“With the Truman heading to the yards, they don’t have a need for the ordnance anymore,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Emmanuel Rodriguez-Martinez from TR’s weapons department. “As we get close to our deployment, we are in the mind set of, ‘after this onload we are ready to go’.”
Lt. Cmdr. James Bell, Truman’s ordnance handling officer said off-loading the ordnance was an important step in Truman’s preparations to enter the shipyards.
Sailors from weapons, deck, air and supply departments on both ships worked together throughout the evolution, which required leadership, efficiency and professionalism from officers and enlisted alike, especially aviation ordnancemen (AO).
“The biggest challenge that we face as AOs is safety. We tend to get amped up when we get the opportunity to do what we signed up to do for the Navy,” said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Claude Markham from TR’s weapons department. “So, adrenaline is pumping. It is a huge challenge to bring that down a level so that we can perform our job with motivation, yet be observant for the numerous safety issues that can arise.”
Bell said safety is always critical and that this off-load was executed efficiently and safely.
“Safety is paramount when we’re executing evolutions like this. We got the job done and we did it safely,” Said Bell onboard Truman. “I ensured every piece of ordnance leaving the ship was in the right location and compatible with the other pieces of ordnance with it.”
Though the Sailors worked on separate ships, they were on the same team when it came to transferring all the ammunition.
“Teamwork was the name of the game for us during this evolution,” said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Elison Talabong, Weapons department’s G-5 division leading chief petty officer aboard Truman. “With everyone working together, we had a safe and successful ammo off-load. The departments supported one another and displayed professionalism and flexibility. Everybody was focused on accomplishing the mission.”
“This onload will finally mean our magazines are mission ready,” said TR’s Rodriguez-Martinez. “This will top them off, and we will be able to move into actually putting them together.”
This also means a transition in mission for both carriers. Truman concluded a nine-month deployment in the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility as the flagship for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, April 19, and is preparing for a shipyard maintenance availability this fall. Theodore Roosevelt, in the meantime, is training with other CSG 12 assets to prepare for future deployments.
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From USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs