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Stennis Traps 10,000th Aircraft of Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070817-12
Release Date: 8/17/2007 2:09:00 PM


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Davis Anderson, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 landed the 10,000th aircraft of the ship’s deployment Aug. 13.

An F/A-18F from the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154 made the trap, while Stennis and CVW-9 wrapped up operations in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007.

“Ten thousand traps and an equal number of catapult shots on this deployment, coupled with no major mechanical issues are a testimonial to superior performance by our aircraft launch and recovery equipment (ALRE) superstars,” said Stennis’ Commanding Officer, Capt. Brad Johanson. “It amazes me how well our crew maintains our aircraft launch and recovery equipment. Chief Warrant Officer Jim Kay [ALRE maintenance officer] and the super professionals of V-2 Division do a superb job of making sure that our catapults and arresting gear are maintained to perfection.”

Valiant Shield was the largest joint exercise in recent history, involving 30 ships, more than 280 aircraft and more than 20,000 service members from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

“The ability to generate 10,000 arrested landings during a single cruise is a testament to the hard work, drive and professionalism of the men and women who serve aboard Stennis and in the embarked squadrons,” said Commander CVW-9, Capt. Sterling Gilliam. “Remember, 10,000 traps starts with 10,000 catapult shots, each with untold hours of preparation on aircraft and ship’s equipment. When you look at all that we have accomplished this deployment, it is truly impressive.”

For the pilot who landed on the flight deck for the 10,000th time of this deployment, this was a special occasion.

“It felt great,” said Lt. Dustin Martelo from VFA-154. “We’ve been out flying so many sorties and to have 10,000 traps through the seven months of deployment is a huge accomplishment for the air wing as a whole. I think it’s a great end to a successful deployment.”

Martelo didn’t even know he had trapped for the 10,000th time right away; the news took a little while to filter to his ready room.

“Somebody from the squadron was up in pri-fly [primary flight control] and heard about it,” said Martelo. “They told me when I came in the ready room after I landed.”

Martelo’s day wasn’t over after this historic landing, he also flew a sortie in the afternoon, which was made possible by the coordinated efforts of Stennis’ crew members and CVW-9.

“We go hand in hand with the air wing,” said Stennis’ Air Boss, Cmdr. Peter Hall. “We can’t get 10,000 traps without the air wing involved, they needed to launch and recover 10,000 airplanes, which is a feat in and of itself. The coordination amongst the ship, all the departments of the ship make this happen, everybody contributes. It’s not just air department; its navigation, its reactor, its engineering and supply. You name it; everybody has a part in what we do to make this happen.”

Hall gave his praise to the people working out on the flight deck every day as well as the supporting crew aboard Stennis.

“I’m very proud of not only air department but the whole ship in the way we came together and did this as a team,” said Hall. “It was a ship-air wing team this accomplished this, not just one division or one department or any one group of people, they all came together to do this.”

Stennis left their homeport of Bremerton, Wash., Jan. 16 in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

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