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Wasp Loads 950 Tons of Ordnance

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090310-18
Release Date: 3/10/2009 6:07:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Johnny Michael, USS Wasp Public Affairs

WEAPONS STATION EARLE, N.J. (NNS) -- Despite a late-winter storm that dropped approximately eight inches of snow on Weapons Station Earle, N.J., USS Wasp (LHD 1) completed a massive ordnance on load March 6 in preparation for an upcoming surge to support operations in the Central Command area of responsibility.

Wasp arrived at Earle midday Sunday anticipating five days to on load the 950 tons of ordnance. By Sunday evening, however, a storm had advanced on northern New Jersey dumping enough snow to close operations at Earle for all of Monday.

The nearly three-mile-long pier used for transporting ordnance from the weapons station to moored ships was finally cleared and ready for operations on Tuesday morning. The 72 Sailors from Wasp's Weapons Department donned their cold weather gear and got to work with the temperature hovering in the mid-teens.

"The weather made handling the ordnance more difficult; it was really cold," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) Martin Flemig. "Fortunately, we had the proper gear – we were prepared."

By Friday morning Flemig and his shipmates had loaded 1,035 pallets, working nearly 50 hours in the brutal cold. According to Weapons Department Leading Chief Petty Officer, Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AW) Neil Siegfried, what Wasp did this week was nothing short of amazing.

"We did this in the worst conditions possible," said Siegfried. "Anything that could have gone against us did. Two snow storms, back-to-back, made for the worst weather imaginable for an on load, and forced us to do five days of work in three."

For many of the Weapons Department, this was their first on load. Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) Jason Bastien noted that such an evolution is a complex and demanding process, and that this was a clear example of Wasp Sailors rising to the occasion.

"It went extremely well considering the experience level of the crew," Bastien said. "They over achieved and surpassed all of our expectations."

For those Sailors working their first on load, like Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class (AW/SW) Carlos Thornton, the sheer amount of work involved in such an undertaking was surprising.

"I thought this was going to be quick," said Thornton.
"But it turned into a lot of really long hours. It was good in a sense though, because we all gained some valuable experience and learned a lot about our jobs."

Wasp Commanding Officer, Capt. Daniel H. Fillion, commended the Weapons Department and expressed his gratitude for their hard work.

"The Weapons Department on board Wasp is second to none," Fillion said. "These guys and gals continue to demonstrate why Team Wasp is consistently ahead of the curve in all facets of what we do. Leadership, commitment to excellence and the drive to be the best are what makes us #1 in the Fleet, and this week the Sailors in Weapons proved that by going above and beyond to get the job done."

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