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NNS021007-10 Kennedy Prepares Tomorrow's Warriors

Release Date: 10/7/2002 2:54:00 PM

By Journalist 3rd Class Tyce Velde, USS John F. Kennedy Public Affairs

ABOARD USS JOHN F. KENNEDY, At Sea (NNS) -- Following a post-deployment stand down, USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) returned to sea recently to prepare tomorrow's warriors.

"Our carrier qualifications (CQs) were successful due largely to the hard work and training of all Kennedy Sailors," said Capt. Ronald H. Henderson Jr., Kennedy's commanding officer.

In total, there were 1,263 arrested landings, said Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Joshua Little, V-2 maintenance control leading petty officer.

Air department bore the brunt of the load, said Little. They operated the catapults and arresting gear, maintained the aircraft and performed the difficult task of shuffling the aircraft on the flight deck during fast-paced CQs.

During CQs, three different types of pilots underwent qualifications. Pilots from Fleet Readiness Squadrons (FRS), Training Command (TRACOM) students and TRACOM instructors flew day and night missions to accomplish their qualifications.

FRS pilots flew F-14 Tomcats, F/A-18 Hornets and E-2C Hawkeyes. Following the first few days, almost 30 FRS pilots qualified to join the fleet.

For TRACOM students, they flew only during the day in T-45 Goshawk or the T-2C Buckeye training aircraft. Most of them were landing on a carrier for the first time. Additionally, TRACOM instructors re-qualified for carrier landings in T-45 Goshawks, with 32 successfully performing the carrier landing requirements.

Another important player in CQs was the Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC). The personnel in CATCC tracked the numerous aircraft surrounding Kennedy, coordinating the launches and recoveries throughout the CQ period.

"The folks in CATCC did a great job controlling the aircraft," said Lt. Joel Doane, CATCC officer. "We have a very experienced group, after flying almost every day for six months on deployment. The Kennedy hasn't slowed down for two years, so we've got a great crew."

In addition to CQs, Kennedy offloaded their ammunition to USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and USS Mount Baker (T-AE 34). Using forklifts and helicopters, Kennedy Sailors, mostly from Weapons Department, clad in red jerseys, offloaded 2,786 tons of ordnance, said Lt. Cmdr. Kris B. Hancock, Kennedy ordnance handling officer.

"It went exceptionally well," he said. "We began 48 hours before the actual offload. It was easier that way because we had a chance to properly mark and inspect the ordnance while it was in the hangar bay."

"It got a bit hectic toward the end," Hancock said. "We had to move 350 units aft to elevator four in about 20 minutes. It was amazing to me how they pulled together as a team. This is definitely the best weapons department I've ever worked with."

The hangar bay is a sea of red, Kennedy Command Master Chief (SW/SS) Kevin Davis said during an address to the crew.

"We've got ordnance in the hangar bay and on the flight deck," said Davis. "There are two ships out there. It's a big deal. I'm wearing red as a tribute to the hard-working red shirts."

It is a big deal, as Kennedy Sailors add another successful mission to this year's accomplishments.

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