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Team Seal Beach Arms Boxer for Surge in Record Time

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050430-09
Release Date: 4/30/2005 9:27:00 AM

By Gregg Smith, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Public Affairs

FALLBROOK, Calif. (NNS) -- The creative talents of two weapons station organizations, along with several other Navy and Marine Corps logistics units, came together in mid-April to prepare for the surge deployment of USS Boxer (LHD 4).

Using a number of innovative techniques, personnel from Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach and the command's Fallbrook detachment completed a short-notice ordnance onload of the large amphibious assault ship in record time.

"The success of this operation was a direct result of the outstanding coordination between our weapons station sites and many other Navy and Marine Corps organizations, both active and reserve," said Naval Weapons Station Commanding Officer Capt. Robert Fowler. "I'm proud of the safe and smart way our personnel are helping to put the Navy's Fleet Response Plan into practice."

The Fleet Response Plan refines training, maintenance and readiness processes to dramatically increase the numbers of combat ships available for deployment. It is designed to allow U.S. naval forces to respond quickly to deter crises, defeat the intentions of an adversary, or win decisively against a major enemy.

Weapons station civilians and Sailors used a unique combination of helicopters, small craft and trucks staged from different weapons station sites, as well as augmentation by reserve units, to complete the short-notice loading event ahead of schedule.

"This entire operation was coordinated in less than a third of the time it normally takes," said Detachment Fallbrook Vertical Replenishment Officer, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Richard Deniz. "Due to our constrained timeframe, we previously trucked some inert ordnance material directly to the ship at Naval Station San Diego. While we were loading the ship with munitions here, Boxer's landing craft picked up and delivered additional ordnance from Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach."

The majority of the work was done at the command's Fallbrook detachment. Nearly 1,000 tons of Marine Corps ordnance and ship self-defense weapons were trucked to next-door Camp Pendleton and lifted directly to Boxer by MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21.

The process, known as vertical replenishment or VERTREP, allowed the ship to be loaded at sea, without the need to pull into port.

Reservists from Detachment Fallbrook Explosive Outload Team 1 also played a key role, providing additional personnel to work after hours, preparing the ordnance for shipment and manning VERTREP stations during the transfer.

"We couldn't have done it without the support of our Reservists," said Deniz.




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