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Big E Gasses up to Get Back to Sea

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050602-03
Release Date: 6/2/2005 2:19:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class (SW) Fletcher Gibson, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Enterprise’s (CVN 65) Air Department started the week by bringing aboard 500,000 gallons of jet fuel May 31-June 2.

Taking the first step in achieving fuel certification before the ship has left the Northrop Grumman shipyards in Newport News, Va., the fraction of Enterprise's 2.9-million-gallon fuel capacity is enough to give the system a good test run.

“Taking on fuel now in the yards will give us the capability to test our systems in preparation of fuel certification,” said Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuel) (AW/SW) Frederick Dryer, air department's fuels division (V-4) leading chief petty officer.

Taking on fuel requires more than just pumping it into tanks. After bringing the fuel aboard, it’s put in storage tanks and allowed to settle, where any impurities can be “stripped” from the fuel. After purification, the fuel is sent to the service tanks and stripped again.

The service filters are as far as the fuel can get in port. The ship needs to be at least 50 miles out to sea before the fuel can be pumped to the flight deck, leaving that last step in certification waiting for the ship to pull out.

“If we can get everything done up to that, though,” said Dryer, “we’ll only have to deal with that one step during certification.”

The farther along V-4 gets in the ship’s fuel certification, the closer Enterprise is to reaching its next milestone.

“In order for us to be able to land aircraft and move them around, we have to be able to fuel them,” said Dryer. “Fuel cert[ification] is the first step in flight deck certification. We’re kicking that off now.”

While bringing fuel aboard is a major step in fuel certification, a lot of time has gone into preparing for the event.

“We started getting ready for this nine months ago,” said Lt. Michael Garber, V-4’s division officer. “Many pumps and motors needed repair, and the tanks needed cleaning.”

The most preparation work, however, had to be done in the area of training. Garber said a large portion of V-4’s personnel have arrived since the ship entered the yards.

“We have a pretty green crew,” he said.

In addition to training aboard Enterprise, V-4 personnel have been making frequent deployments aboard other local carriers to get hands-on training.

“Any time any of those ships have gone out, we’ve gone along,” said Dryer.

All of this effort adds up to a large first step in getting Enterprise ready to take its place as an active aircraft carrier, and it’s all being done while still in the shipyard.

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