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Ike Sailors Load Up CVW-7

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050506-01
Release Date: 5/6/2005 10:35:00 AM

By Journalist 2nd Class Paul Simonds and Journalist 2nd Class Michael Perez, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At sea (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) surpassed another milestone April 30 through May 1 as the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier’s aviation ordnancemen built and delivered training weaponry to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7.

Sailors from Ike’s Weapons Department constructed Bomb Dummy Units (BDU) 45 and Mk 76 practice bombs. They delivered the ordnance to the ship’s flight deck, where Sailors from CVW-7 mounted them on F/A-18 Hornets of the “Wildcats” from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131 and S-3B Vikings of the “Topcats” from Sea Control Squadron (VS) 31.

This was the first time Sailors from Ike had built and delivered ordnance to aircraft in more than four years, offering weapons department the training opportunity they had been waiting for.

“[The Sailors] were excited,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) Kevin Selhorst, G-3 Division leading petty officer. “They’re happy to actually get to do the job they came into the Navy to do.”

Though the ordnance was inert, the training scenario was designed to simulate operational scenarios.

After the "armed" aircraft launched from Ike, pilots flew to training ranges to drop the ordnance onto simulated aircraft and landing strips.

The delivery of ordnance and the flight operations that followed allowed air crew from CVW-7 and Ike’s Sailors to train together as a team for normal operations, similar to what a carrier experiences when deployed. One group of aircraft launched while another staged on the flight deck. After the launched aircraft had completed their mission, the second group launched, allowing the first group to land. The flight deck continued to launch and recover aircraft for approximately five cycles.

“We train like we fight,” said Lt. Tom Clark, VFA-131 assistant operations officer. “Even if it’s inert ordnance, it doesn’t matter. The 'ordies' can still go through all the same symbology as far as building the bombs. That way it is seemless when we get up further stages such as TSTA (Tailored Ship's Training Availability) and COMPTUEX (Composite Training Unit Exercise) just before cruise and on cruise.”

Ike is expected to take live ordnance aboard after the completion of the Explosive Safety Inspection (ESI) during the carrier’s Post Shakedown Availability, a maintenance period scheduled for later this summer.

Ike’s crew will be ready to handle the live ordnance as a result of this and future training evolutions.

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