The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) completed its first weapons onload in more than five years, since beginning Refuel and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) in September 2009, as it took on more than 1,600 tons of ordnance, May 5-6.
The massive onload was also the first onload for 85 percent of the ship’s aviation ordnancemen.
“We’ve had very extensive training with all of Weapons Department, from G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4, up to this point to ensure that we are one hundred percent ready for this weapons onload,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Christopher Duff, with Weapons Department. “A lot of our training revolved around maneuvering magazines and other canisters on a forklift, and also some elevator training.”
It took two days to receive the munitions from the dry cargo/ammunitions ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13).
“For something of this caliber we have to make sure that we are all getting enough rest,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Jasmine Davis, who participated in her first weapons onload. “Without enough rest something like this can be a lot more dangerous than it already is.”
Communication from every tier of each department and division was essential to the successfull and safe completion of the operation, said Duff.
“It’s really key that we have everyone talking to each other, whether it is to warn others of an approaching hazard, or the elevator operators communicating with personnel that deliver our ammo to the magazines,” said Duff. “We have to have that communication so we know what to send down and when to send it down.”
The weapons onload was a coordinated effort between all of the weapons department’s divisions. From the quality assurance petty officer, who supervises the loading of the magazine, to the team leader, who directs the show, to the team members who physically handle the loads of ordnance.
“If you take away the weapons, then this is just a big floating airport,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Justin Hilton.
Press Release, May 8, 2014; Image: US Navy