USS Nimitz sailors test their underway replenishment skills

Sailors assigned to USS Nimitz (CVN 68) receive ammunition from the dry cargo/ammuniton ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE-8) during an at-sea ammunition onload. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) conducted its first at-sea ammunition onload in more than two years during an underway replenishment, October 23-24.

Nimitz Sailors moved a total of 1,542 pallets from the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8) during the 48-hour, ordnance-handling evolution in preparation for an upcoming 2017 deployment.

Deck department worked tirelessly to safely transfer ordnance from Wally Schirra to Nimitz. Deck sailors received pallets of ordnance via connected replenishment between the two ships.

“It’s been a great effort considering most of deck department is new,” said Seaman James Garvey, a deck seaman aboard Nimitz. “We’ve been staying strong and tenacious, and have been good about rotating people in and out so they can get their qualifications.”

While deck department sailors received the pallets, weapons department worked above and below decks to ensure ordnance was safely transferred, organized, and stowed in the ship’s magazines.

With the help of sailors from Nimitz’ air department, MH-60S Sea Hawks from the “Eightballers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 transferred ordnance, via vertical replenishment, from Wally Schirra to Nimitz.

Nimitz completed the onload two days earlier than expected and used the extra time to perform additional practice approaches with Wally Schirra to further train and qualify Nimitz Sailors.

Nimitz recently spent 20-months in port undergoing extended planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

In the coming months, Nimitz will undergo a series of inspections and multi-ship exercises as part of a work-up cycle that will test the ship’s proficiency and capabilities in preparation for her upcoming 2017 deployment.

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