By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Everett Allen, USS George Washington Public Affairs
PHILIPPINE SEA (Oct. 08, 2014) – The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) conducted a fueling-at-sea (FAS) with the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), Oct. 8.
During this FAS, George Washington transferred approximately 1,000 gallons of fuel to Antietam.
“Normally, we take on fuel,” said Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Lauren Vannewhouse, from Columbus, Miss. “But today, we [gave] fuel.”
According to Vannewhouse, the last time George Washington fueled another vessel was about eleven months ago, but both Sailors and equipment must be ready at all times in the event that a FAS is needed. Many hours of training prepare Sailors for every evolution.
“It takes a lot of training on our part to ensure a safe evolution,” said Lt. Larry Chester, George Washington’s assistant first lieutenant. “We also do a lot of [maintenance] to make sure the equipment works correctly so that we’re ready to bring the fight to the enemy. We have to be able to deliver fuel and execute our plan.”
Evolutions such as this also help the new Sailors who have arrived in those eleven months to gain training and experience. Safety briefs conducted before each evolution allow for more experienced Sailors to share knowledge about operational risk management, and to pass on knowledge learned from previous evolutions.
“Before any evolution, we have a safety brief,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Cory Fenner, from Long Island, N.Y. “A lot of the newer Sailors [aboard George Washington] haven’t done this before, and so we did [this FAS evolution] twice. The first time was a practice run and the second was the real thing.”
Through both the practice run and the real evolution, one priority took precedence.
“Safety was most definitely key in this evolution,” said Vannewhouse. “Anyone around here could stop the evolution for a safety reason. We [took] the typical safety precautions for this evolution, such as our pant legs tucked in, removing jewelry and properly wearing safety gear.”
George Washington and Antietam provide a combat-ready force that protects the interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
“The ship does this to be ready for an emergency situation, where another ship would need fuel,” said Fenner. “If we can’t get a [delivery] ship out there, we still have operational forces that can give them fuel.”