USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducted a fueling-at-sea (FAS), March 23, marking the first time the ship has received jet propellant-5 (JP-5) aircraft fuel from a replenishment ship in more than 11 months.
Gerald R. Ford successfully received more than one million gallons of JP-5 over the course of three hours from the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196).
The FAS started off with Ford pulling alongside Kanawha and shooting a line over to establish communications and connect the fuel lines. Once attached, the fuel lines were spanned and tensioned and Ford began the fueling process.
“We performed hours of station maintenance and preparation to receive fuel on our receiving stations and associated gear,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Alexa Macri, from Huntington, West Virginia, assigned to Gerald R. Ford’s deck department. “Ford’s ability to receive fuel while alongside another ship allows us to stay out to sea longer without having to replenish our fuel supply.”
Eighty-four sailors from Gerald R. Ford’s deck department and V-4 division participated in the event, manning various posts and performing maintenance on equipment to ensure the evolution went smoothly.
“Every single deck department sailor was involved in the evolution. From the bridge watch team, the phone and distance line handlers, to the personnel operating on the stations receiving the fuel, every Sailor’s position is critical to mission success,” said Macri. “Deck department as a whole performed professionally in every aspect. I am super proud of their performance.”
The JP-5 from this onload will be essential for fueling the aircraft and vehicles that are being used in flight deck certification and air wing qualifications.
“Without fuel the ship wouldn’t be able to provide air support. You can’t move fast without gas,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Kenneth Cook, from Houston, assigned to Ford’s V-4 division. “Fuels onload is a complicated process with a lot of moving parts and pieces but each and every one of my Sailors executed their watch station flawlessly.”
As Ford approaches its deployment, successful evolutions like these prove that the crew is ready for its upcoming certifications, inspections and assessments.
“Fuel onload is important to us as a warship because it assists our pilots in their mission completion,” Macri explained. “Fully qualified warships are lethal and every gallon counts to get the job done.”