Sailors move ordnance in the hangar bays during an ammunition onload aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) . Stennis is returning to homeport in Bremerton, Wash. after completing sea trials as the final phase of a six-month planned incremental availability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

Story by MC3 Chase Corbin

NAVAL MAGAZINE INDIAN ISLAND, Wash. – The Weapons Department of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) finished an ordnance onload Saturday morning that set a record for the largest in carrier history.

The Weapons Department Sailors onloaded 2.9 million pounds of ordnance using 948 lifts in a total of 22 hours.

“The men and women of Weapons Department performed as a team, not just as a group of people performing a task going in the same direction,” said Lt. Cmdr. William Donals, Stennis’ Ordnance Handling Officer.

“We just onloaded three days work-worth of ordnance in less than 24 hours,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW/SW) John Clark.

The onload was completed by new aviation ordnancemen and veterans alike. They worked in tandem to complete the mission on time and return Stennis to Naval Base Kitsap in time for the holidays.

Sailors load ordnance onto pallets on elevator two aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Stennis is returning to homeport in Bremerton, Wash. after completing sea trials as the final phase of a six-month planned incremental availability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

“We had a lot of ‘green’ people who had never even seen live ordnance before, but we all pulled together,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) Michael Washa, whose team received the ordnance from Naval Magazine Indian Island (NMII). “According to NMII, we are the only crew that has ever been able to keep up with them.”

Weapons Department Sailors tested their skills for the first time since Stennis entered its planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in June.

“It was hard for everyone to work in unison when everyone had their own specific job to do,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Jimmie McGhee. “For a lot of Sailors this is their first ship, but we worked really hard to make it happen.”

By successfully onloading 2.9 million pounds of ordnance, Weapons Department ensured Stennis’ ability to complete mission requirements during the upcoming deployment.

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