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Kearsarge Conducts Ammo Transfer with Iwo Jima, Bataan

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS061205-15
Release Date: 12/5/2006 4:30:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Finley D. Williams, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

ABOARD USS KEARSARGE, At Sea (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) completed an ammunition transfer with the amphibious assault ships USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and USS Bataan (LHD 5) during a scheduled underway off the coast of Virginia Dec. 2.

Kearsarge brought on more than 900 pallets of ordnance from Iwo Jima in preparation for the ship’s scheduled deployment next year. The evolution, which was scheduled for three days, was accomplished in two. The Kearsarge then transferred 60 pallets to Bataan to fully stock their ordnance in preparation for their upcoming deployment.

“The USS Bataan is the next large deck amphib to deploy overseas in support of the global war on terrorism. Prior to her deployment, she is required to have 100 percent of her ship-fill ordnance aboard so the ship’s embarked units can accomplish the mission at hand," said Master Chief Gunner's Mate (SW/AW) John Russaw, G-3 divisional leading chief petty officer. "We took this opportunity to top her off by delivering the ordnance she needs to deploy.”

Kearsarge Sailors followed safety guidelines for elevator operations, forklift and ramp procedures and ordnance handling regulations to ensure the mission was a mishap-free success.

Many departments aboard played a role in the accuracy and efficiency of moving ammunition while at sea. Kearsarge Weapons Department segregated, inventoried, transported and stored all ordnance in designated spaces, while the Engineering Department provided elevator operators and maintainers. The Air Department and Combat Cargo ensured the safe landing and maneuvering of helo-delivered ammo pallets on the flight deck. The Supply Department prepared box lunches so that workers could get in a quick meal between semingly endless pallet landings, and the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department worked around the clock providing fork lift operators and ensuring all forklifts were 100 percent operational for the evolution.

“We worked long hours. We were up before 5 a.m. and in bed long after taps, but we finished the job earlier than expected and we all felt good about that,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Clifford Collins. “It was quite an accomplishment.”

“This ammunition transfer was very important because it allows the Iwo Jima, who is returning from a six-month deployment in the Persian Gulf, to return to her homeport and start post deployment leave immediately,” said Russaw.

Russaw continued saying how much Kearsarge Sailor's helped their shipmates aboard Bataan and Iwo Jima.

"By completing this complex evolution at sea, we saved the Navy thousands of dollars in fuel and provided a morale boost for our fellow shipmates aboard the Iwo Jima," Russaw said. "We know they would do the same for us. All Sailors understand what it is like to come back home after a long deployment.”

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