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Sea trials: to test, to learn

Kitty Hawk Press Release

Release Date: 10/15/2002

By: JO2 Mark Elrod

After being in port more than four months completing scheduled maintenance, the crew of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) got underway for sea trials Oct. 15, 2002.

Sea trials are used to check the equipment that was serviced during the ship's restricted availability period, according to Machinist's Mate Chief (SW) Kerry Clark, Hawk's four main machinery room leading chief petty officer.

Each of Hawk's departments has training objectives to accomplish during sea trials.

Air department will concentrate on flight deck qualifications, according to Yeoman Chief (AW/SW) Jerry Yost, Hawk's air department administrative division leading chief petty officer.

"Everybody needs to get more experience and get back in the groove of launching and recovering aircraft," Yost said. "Because when the real thing comes, we need to be ready to launch and recover for real with missiles and bombs.our personnel will be ready."

While air department is concentrating on flight deck qualifications and training, Hawk's combat systems division will be checking their equipment.

"Our training objectives are to ensure that all of Hawk's radar and weapons systems are functioning properly, according to Personnelman 1st Class (SW/AW) Scott Baird, Hawk's information, integration and training division leading petty officer, of combat systems department.

"Because of the length of time we have been in port, systems tend to collect dirt and dust. They get inoperable and, really, the only way to test them is in an underway-at-sea environment where we can turn everything on and see how it works."

Sea trials are important because (they) help to get new personnel trained, according to Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) Robert Jerge, Hawk's navigation department leading petty officer.

"We've got some new people on board, just out of "A" school and when we get underway for deployment we want to be able to do our jobs," said Jerge. "So it's a lot of getting back into the swing of things and training new people for their rates." During sea trials, Hawk Sailors will undergo a series of drills in order to see how they respond in emergency situations.

Hawk's deck department will focus on man overboard drills. The man over board drills help to keep the department personnel ready on a moment's notice, according to Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW) Matthew Weathington, 1st division leading petty officer "For man overboard, we're the ones who have to get the boat in the water and go out there and get the guy that's overboard," said Weathington. "More than anything, the (drills) help to improve our response time," he added.

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