21 May 2008

Eye Candy for Sailors, Part 20

The Captain congratulates RUSSELL’s newest Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist.

The Captain administers the oath of office to a brand new Lieutenant Junior Grade.

A member of the boarding team scales a cargo net during a practice boarding.

15 May 2008

Eye Candy for Sailors, Part 19

A Sailor performs a daily inspection of one of the ship’s boats

A Sailor takes his turn on the helm.

A Sailor cleans a filter for the gas turbine uptakes.

11 May 2008

Muster All Hands For Stores Strike Down

While we’re at sea for extended periods, the vast majority of our supplies, parts and mail get transferred to us from other ships. Sometimes helicopters lift the cargo from flight deck to flight deck and other times it’s delivered on a highline connecting our ship with another. Both ways of re-supplying are categorized as “underway replenishment”, or UNREP, with transfer by helicopter known as “vertical replenishment”, or VERTREP, and transfer by highline known as “connected replenishment”, or CONREP.

An MH-60 delivers a load to the flight deck

CONREPs are further broken down into “fueling-at-sea”, or FAS, and “replenishment-at-sea”, or RAS. Both methods of transfer require extra maneuvering watches and crews to run either the flight deck or the replenishment rigs, and any time parts, mail or stores are delivered, all hands turn to and help strike the materials below. And, for a ship the size of RUSSELL, that means officers and chief petty officers, too.

A delivery ship transfers cargo by highline and pumps fuel simultaneously.

VERTREPs present the greatest challenge in stowing materials. For safety reasons, only a portion of the flight deck may be used to receive loads, so once the helicopter clears the deck, the crew has just a few minutes to get the pallets out of the cargo nets, repositioned and broken down, and the flight deck readied to receive another load.

Crew members break down a pallet of stores.

Meanwhile, the whole crew stands ready in a line inside the skin of the ship to pass the boxes and bags hand-to hand from the flight deck to their destination. A proficient crew will break down and stow materials at the rate of a pallet a minute for 30 to 45 minutes to complete an average replenishment.

07 May 2008

Eye Candy for Sailors, Part 18

One of our recent port visits; Phuket, Thailand. Here are some of the scenes:

One of many scenic inlets in the Thai coast.

Going for a ride.

A view of the harbor at dusk.

04 May 2008

Division in the Spotlight - S2

Napoleon once remarked that an army travels on its stomach. The same can be said of a Navy, and as a result, ships at sea have a long logistical “tail” that keeps food flowing to sea so the ships can stay on station. Probably the most important part of that “tail” from the Sailors’ perspective, though, is the division that puts meals on the table four times per day (breakfast, lunch, supper and midnights rations, or “midrats”) - “S2” or Food Service Division.

With a cadre of Culinary Specialists running the show, S2 is primarily made up of junior Sailors from other divisions called “Food Service Attendants”. These Sailors are sent for one or two 90-day periods in their first enlistment to bear a hand with the hardest jobs in food service – the hours of preparation and clean up required to run a galley and keep the operation sanitary around the clock. In addition, S2 is responsible for ordering and stocking all the stores required to keep food on our tables.

Perhaps the greatest challenge is not in cooking and serving the 900 or so meals per day it takes to feed the crew, but making those meals the best they can be. In this regard, RUSSELL’s Food Service Division is definitely at the top of their class. And it’s not just the crew that thinks so. RUSSELL’s S2 Division was recognized in 2007 as the Pacific Fleet runner up for the Captain Edward F. Ney Award for food service excellence.

02 May 2008

Eye Candy for Sailors, Part 17

A brand new Master Chief gets pinned.

The “Crash and Smash” team stands at the ready while an aircraft is refueled.

A “big deck” gets gas.