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Sasebo Munitions Team Keeps Flint Ready

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080710-27
Release Date: 7/10/2008 10:57:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Joshua J. Wahl, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det. Sasebo, Japan

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The Navy Munitions Command (NMC) East Asia Detachment at Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo safely completed an ammunition on-load aboard the Military Sealift Command ammunition ship USNS Flint (T-AE 32) July 9.

Sailors and Marines from NMC spent several days preparing for the extremely dangerous ordnance replenishment.

Chief Warrant Officer Tim Schraer, NMC operations officer in charge, and Atlanta native, explained Flint received an assortment of ammunition, missiles and bombs in preparation for its mission of resupplying the forward deployed naval forces.

"We play a vital role in supply to the ships since ammo is a commodity needed just like any other supply we order," said Schraer. "This evolution requires even more extensive coordination and planning from top to bottom to ensure no mishaps occur."

As with any evolution at sea, an ammunition on-load relies heavily on safety and operational risk management. Before Flint received ammunition, safety checks were completed, and planning between the Flint team and NMC professionals ensured they were ready to accept ordnance.

"The potential for hazardous situations in handling ordnance is always a concern we take seriously," said Flint's Lead Safety Observer, Mike LaFleur. "At any time during these evolutions something doesn't look right, we will stop operation right then and there, only resuming after we know everything is safe and clear. Planning is the key."

The NMC Sailors and Flint crew completed the on-load while at anchorage off the coast of Sasebo harbor. The team effort resulted in successfully transporting, organizing and stowing 35 pallets of munitions aboard Flint.

"It can take weeks worth of planning for a few hours of actual operational involvement with the ships," said Gunner's Mate 1st Class (SW) Douglas Eakin, from Circleville, Ohio. "Today was a routine operation for us, but everyone played their part to get the job done safely and successfully. It was another great day in the Navy."

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