ATLANTIC OCEAN -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (IKE) began an ammunition offload Aug. 6 to prepare the ship for an upcoming docked planned incremental availability (DPIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Sailors aboard IKE will move more than 1,350 pallets of ammunition from the hangar bay and flight deck to dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) via connected (CONREPs) and vertical replenishments (VERTREPs) while underway. After more than a year of high-tempo carrier operations including two deployments, IKE is scheduled to enter an extended maintenance period next month. "IKE is going to get a lot of industrial work done, including welding, that can possibly affect the ordnance during her DPIA," said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (select) Malcom Moore from Weapons department's G-5 division. "It is necessary for us to offload our ammunition so the shipyard workers can do their job in a safe environment."
The gunner's mates of Weapons department's G-2 division are ready to be called on a moment's notice in order to help out with the evolution.
"We are going to be all over the place, day and night," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Phillip Furlong. "We are tasked with shooting the shot line over to USNS Medgar Evers, but we also help out with preparing the ordnance prior to sending them over and manning the elevator teams to bring them up to the hangar bay and flight deck." Deck department also plays a major role during the ammo offload by rigging and operating the sliding pad-eyes for use in the CONREP with Medgar Evers. "We work alongside the aviation ordnancemen and gunner's mates of Weapons department and do our best to do it safely through constant communication and teamwork," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Joe Hernandez, assistant leading petty officer for Deck department's 2nd division. IKE Sailors will offload pallets of bombs, missiles and small arms ammunition. To keep everyone on the ship as safe as possible, the hangar bay will stay secured to most traffic. "When offloading ordnance, it's important for the hangar bay to be clear of all nonessential personnel to be able to do it safely and efficiently without any obstructions," said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Wayne Deyette, flight deck chief petty officer, from Weapons department's G-1 division. "Unauthorized and unqualified people can create the risk for possible mishaps with so much ordnance in one place." Not only is keeping unnecessary personnel away from the area important, but Sailors moving ordnance have to pay special attention to their surroundings, Moore said. "The most important thing for Sailors to do is to look out for each other and make sure they are doing everything safely. We stress and put this out to them during our safety brief before the evolution and make sure it happens while out on the job," said Moore.