Just as Sailors need water to keep their body functioning, jets need fuel to keep their engines burning and there’s only one team aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) who can provide it.
Often referred to as “grapes” because of the purple jerseys they wear, V-4 Division consists primarily of Aviation Boatswain’s Mates (Fuel) who pump fuel into aircraft, ground equipment, emergency diesel generators and ship’s incinerators.
“We are responsible for the fueling system on board” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) William Lund. “We are in charge of JP-5 storage and as well as maintaining equipment used to transfer fuel.”
V-4 is divided into two main areas, below decks and flight deck, explained Lund. Below decks is the biggest area of responsibility and divided into two work centers.
“Below decks personnel are responsible for all JP-5 operations from the first deck and below,” said Lund. “They are responsible for all JP-5 accountability, purification process and delivery to the flight deck.”
Depending on the missions, Stennis uses anywhere from 80,000 to 190,000 gallons of fuel a day. With so much fuel being used it’s important to stay replenished.
“Another responsibility of V-4 below decks is receiving fuel during replenishments at sea (RAS),” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) Airman Roy Hermosillo. “Without fuel we wouldn’t be able to really do anything.”
Flight deck is divided into three work centers: flight deck refueling crews, flight deck repair and fuel quality assurance (QA) lab.
“Flight deck personnel are responsible for all J-P5 operations, from the hangar deck to the flight deck,” said Lund. “They deliver fuel to the aircraft and monitor the quality of the fuel received and delivered throughout the day.”
Through the coordination of V-4 flight deck control, eight refueling crews ensure all aircraft are fueled so they are ready to launch at a moment’s notice in support of daily sustained operations.
“Fuel has to be available on time, 24 hours a day to ensure no operational delays,” said Lund.
To ensure no delays flight deck repair ensures that the integrity of all fueling stations is in optimal condition and repairs are conducted in a timely manner.
Stennis’ immense 3.5 million gallon fuel system consists of 189 tanks, 2 JP-5 pump rooms, 4 JP-5 filter rooms, 18 refueling stations, and countless miles of piping in order to get it to the right areas.
Along with ABFs who pump fuel V-4 console repair is responsible for the smart ship console used to control and monitor all JP-5 valves in the system.
“They also maintain the 4JG sound powered system allowing all V-4 work centers to communicate with each other,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) 1st Class Flores.
Working together with every aspect of their department V-4 has received and distributed seven million gallons of fuel helping Stennis stay mission ready at all times.