Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian B. Martinez

PACIFIC OCEAN- Sailors from the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier are currently embarked aboard USS John C. Stennis for a three-week underway training period, Jan. 10 to Feb. 6.

Thirty-eight Sailors assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) were selected to join Stennis in order to receive real-world training and experience on an operational carrier at sea.

“Operational experience at sea is a key element to ensure we have a fully trained and viable crew ready to deliver the lead ship in the Navy’s newest class of aircraft carriers,” said Capt. Sean Bailey, Ford’s executive officer.
“The opportunity to get underway with John C. Stennis is invaluable to the Sailors from Gerald R. Ford, and it serves as the perfect complement to the training we have been receiving while our ship is still under construction.”

The first of its class, Ford is currently being built in Newport News, Va. and is scheduled for delivery in 2016. For many Ford Sailors on Stennis, it is a unique opportunity for them to learn about underway evolutions such as vertical replenishments and general quarters drills.

“General quarters has been one of many firsts for me this underway,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (fuels) Airman Recruit Darrius Wilkerson, from Little Rock, Ark. “I was able to experience a man overboard drill, see the flight deck, and work with Sailors from Stennis’ air department.”

During the underway period, Ford Sailors will receive lessons on programs that Stennis Sailors have been working on for the past several months, such as the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) system, maintenance and material management (3-M) system and other shipboard programs.

“As the leading chief petty officer of the Supply SS40 division of the Gerald R. Ford, I will be responsible for the damage control maintenance of our supply department,” said Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Calendula Sanders, from Chicago. “I am here to receive 3-M and Sked 3.2 training, which I will use to help establish our damage control maintenance program.”

Ford will be the newest class of carrier since the Nimitz-class launched in 1972. It will feature fully electric utilities, eliminating steam service lines on the ship and reducing maintenance requirements. The improved ship design will also allow the ship and air wing to operate with approximately 400 fewer personnel.

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