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USS O'Kane Maneuvers for PHOTOEX

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070207-07
Release Date: 2/7/2007 11:44:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark G. Logico, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

USS O’KANE, At Sea (NNS) -- While conducting flight and integrated strike group (ISG) exercises off the coast of Guam on Feb. 6, Sailors aboard USS O’Kane (DDG 77) performed ship maneuvering evolutions with the rest of the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG) as part of a group Photo Exercise (PHOTOEX).

USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), USS Preble (DDG 88), USS Antietam (CG 54), USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10) and O’Kane maneuvered into formation as two helicopters from Anti-Submarine Helicopter Squadron (HS) 8 “Eightballers” circled above, taking photographs of the strike group.

The PHOTOEX was more than just a chance to capture JCSSG through photography. It gave Sailors on board O’Kane a chance to perform precision ship handling in concert with other JCSSG ships.

“Precision maneuvering skills are required in many situations at sea,” said Ensign Kimberly Phair, the junior officer of the watch in charge of maneuvering O’Kane through the PHOTOEX.

Moving at 15 knots, each vessel was separated by approximately 500 yards, providing O’Kane’s conning officer, Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) Jesse Garcia, the opportunity to practice his ship driving skills.

“It was a really good experience driving the ship,” said Garcia. “Most of the time, we either steam independently or are several miles away from other ships. You really get to know how the ship moves and how to put it into position when you’re this close.”

Putting O’Kane into position was the job of the ship’s master helmsman, Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class (SW) Edmond Kincaid, who said it was not easy to drive, but showed confidence in maneuvering the ship during the exercise.

“We have to steer the ship on a steady course within a half degree left or right of the course,” said Kincaid. “You have one degree of play, and yet you have to stay on course. The most important thing to know is what to do in case of emergency situations.”

Phair said she was very pleased with the outcome of the exercise and pointed out how organized the strike group was.

“I think we did a great job getting into formation,” said Phair. “We are showing we’re a cohesive strike group.”

Phair said the photos are something everyone can treasure, but also the exercise gave JCSSG bridge teams confidence in each other’s maneuvering capabilities.

“So, if something would happen, if communications were to go down, we have 100 percent faith in our ship handling abilities,” she said.

O’Kane is currently deployed with JCSSG conducting flight and integrated strike group operations off the coast of Guam after entering U.S. 7th Fleet’s area of responsibility Jan. 31, as part of a deployment to promote peace, regional cooperation and stability.



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