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Lassen Safely Completes Ammo On Load

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070920-04
Release Date: 9/20/2007 12:57:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Chantel M. Clayton, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Det. Japan

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) safely completed an ammunition on load Sept. 19, while at anchorage off of Fleet Activities Yokosuka.

According to Lt. Dwight Davis, the ship’s weapons officer, Lassen received an assortment of ammunition, including Sea Sparrow air-to-air missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, .50 caliber rounds and other small arms ammunition.

As with any shipboard evolution, an ammunition on load relies heavily on safety and operational risk management. Before the ship could receive ammunition, safety checks were completed in the magazines to ensure they were ready to accept ordnance.

“Maintenance is completed, the magazines are cleaned and inspected, and any discrepancies that are found are fixed before ordnance comes on board,” said Davis.

Gunner’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Matt Kelly, a deck supervisor during the evolution, said that sea state and wind speed play a critical part in the evolution, as winds cannot exceed 10 knots and the sea state must be calm.

“There can’t be high winds,” said Kelly. “It can cause ordnance to swing around, and in turn, can cause damage to the ship or the ordnance and it can hurt personnel. A low sea state is also important. If the weapons barges are moving too much, the cranes can’t get the ordnance on deck. That also causes the cranes to swing ordnance around.”

Safety observers are in place to ensure the evolution takes place safely and to ensure personnel are aware of their surroundings.

“Personnel wearing white hard hats make sure people aren’t in the way,” said Kelly. “They make sure ammo doesn’t swing all over the deck, they ensure personnel are standing clear of hatches and not hanging on the lifelines. People should always pay attention to what is going on. There is a lot of activity such as ordnance coming overhead or forklifts moving ordnance on the deck. Personnel should always keep their head on a swivel.”

Everyone involved in the on load is a safety observer, Davis added.

“We tell everyone involved that if they see something that is unsafe, they are to stop the evolution so the problem can be fixed,” said Davis.

Lassen is the 32nd ship in the Arleigh Burke-class of Aegis guided-missile destroyers. It is 509.5 feet long, has a displacement of 9,238 tons, has four gas-turbine engines and can travel in speeds in excess of 30 knots. Lassen is currently forward-deployed to Yokosuka and is part of Destroyer Squadron 15.

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