By MC3 Marques Franklin
Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) line the edges of the flight deck and peer out from the hangar bay as the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195) pulls alongside Ike, Sept. 23.
Lines are shot between the two ships and soon fuel begins to flow as supplies are flown over. Once the transfer of supplies begins, Sailors all over the ship go into action, doing everything from testing JP-5 fuel samples to moving cargo. By the end of the replenishment-at-sea (RAS), just over one million gallons of fuel and 92 pallets of supplies have been transferred to Ike.
“Every department plays a role during a RAS,” said Chief Culinary Specialist Lonnell Neely, food production chief aboard Ike. “To complete a RAS the ship as a whole has to come together as a team and focus on operating safely and efficiently.”
Ike has been conducting various exercises and test in preparation for its upcoming deployment. With Ike operating at full strength, the need for more supplies increases.
“Being able to complete a RAS is an essential part of Ike being ready to deploy,” said Neely. “We need to be able to get the materials needed around the ship while at sea. Today’s successful RAS was just another example of Ike showing it’s ready to deploy.”
Ike’s flight deck has been constantly busy with the launching and recovering of aircraft while the Sailors below decks have been doing their part to keep Ike at peak performance.
“Today we brought on approximately a million gallons of fuel,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 3rd Class Christian Cruz, V-4 training petty officer. “It’s important that we have and are able to receive fuel while at sea in order to complete our overall mission of launching and recovering aircraft. With all the equipment being used around the ship while out to sea, fuel is one of the most important things we can have as an aircraft carrier.”
With Ike receiving these supplies and operating efficiently the crew and ship appear ready to answer the nation’s call.