Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago
PACIFIC OCEAN – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) visited Naval Magazine (NAVMAG) Indian Island, the Navy’s primary ordnance storage and handling station on the West Coast, to onload six million pounds of ammunition, Jan. 13-15.
“This is the biggest ordnance onload we’ve seen,” said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Jason Engleman, G-5 division’s leading chief petty officer. “We haven’t had an onload since December 2010, and we are ready to show what this warship can do.”
The ship plans to take on two-thirds of its weight capacity during the three day evolution. Bombs, missiles and rounds will be onloaded by 1,400 crane lifts.
“The importance of the Indian Island visit is to provide ammunition for the ship’s defense, and assist with training during this underway,” said Lt. Cmdr. Steve Kashuba, Stennis’ ordnance handler officer.
Before weapons department’s Sailors transfer ammunition, every Sailor in G-1 division must become ordnance strike qualified.
“It is a requirement for everyone who handles ordnance,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Luke Wilson, from Ball, La. “We all have to be qualified to handle ordnance to ensure a safe environment at all times.”
Sailors must also qualify to transport ordnance using the weapons elevators, electrically enclosed forklifts and 6K forklifts.
“Having met these requirements definitely helped to prepare us for this visit,” said Wilson. “We have to be a well-oiled machine. If we hadn’t trained and gotten qualified, it would be a mess.”
The ordnance onload was an all-hands evolution and included Sailors from AIMD, air, navigation, safety, security, supply and medical departments. Sailors served as watchstanders, safety observers or ordnance handlers to ensure the evolution ran smoothly.