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Antietam Sailors Make History in the Persian Gulf

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050509-01
Release Date: 5/9/2005 9:35:00 AM

By Journalist Seaman Joseph Ebalo, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

ABOARD USS ANTIETAM, North Persian Gulf (NNS) -- Sailors forward deployed in the North Persian Gulf aboard USS Antietam (CG 54) performed the first underway replenishment (UNREP) between a U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser and a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) April 26.

Antietam completed fuel replenishment with USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326) in about two hours and saved the 110-foot patrol boat a four-hour trip to the nearest refueling station.

Approximately 90 percent of Antietam’s crew had never participated in an UNREP with a Coast Guard cutter before.

“This is my second deployment during two years and I have never even heard of a cruiser replenishing a Coast Guard Cutter,” said Chief Boatswain's Mate Gene Hepple, leading chief petty officer of Antietam’s deck department.

Before Antietam Sailors could make history, they needed to know what their mission was and what needed to be done to accommodate the needs of the Coast Guard.

“Our operations department gave us sizes of the fitting (fuel nozzle for replenishment hose)and flange (bolt for fuel nozzle to lock onto during re-fueling), and asked us if we could build them,” said Hull Technician 3rd Class Tim Stahnke, collection holding tank manager.

“Once we found what materials and tools to use for the cutter’s fuel tank, we were able to follow the designs and start building,” he added.

The project was not an easy one for Sailors working in Antietam’s machinery spaces. The cutter’s fitting and flange were smaller than any of the UNREP equipment aboard and required extra hours to build.

“We worked on the fitting and flange pieces all night and spent about 24 hours checking and testing them with our fueling equipment,” said Machinery Repairman 2nd Class Joseph Archer, machinery shop work space supervisor.

“Our job is 95 percent imagination,” said Archer. "We saw what we wanted to build, so we put all our time and energy into making the UNREP a success for both vessels."

Antietam and Monomoy are part of Commander, Task Force (CTF) 58 and conduct maritime security operations (MSO) in the Northern Persian Gulf under Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet.

Maritime Security Operations (MSO) set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO denies international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.

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