ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- In the Navy, aviation ordnanceman (AO) serve in a variety of roles and have been putting "warheads on foreheads" since before World War II.
Aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and throughout the fleet, AOs work to ensure naval ships and aircraft have a means of self-defense and, if necessary, are capable of bringing the fight to the enemy.
"[Aboard] aircraft carriers we can serve in any one of the "G" divisions, [including] administration, retail ordnance logistics, weapons assembly, small arms, engineering and aviation intermediary maintenance department," said Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Richey, the air gunner aboard Abraham Lincoln.
Due to the multi-faceted aspect of the rate, AOs need to maintain proficiency in a variety of fields in order for the ship and its weapons system to operate at full capacity.
"The primary job for my division, G-1, is the safe and efficient ammunition handling on the flight deck and hanger decks during all weapons evolutions and vertical replenishments," said Richey. "We are also responsible for the support of all embarked squadrons' ordnance evolutions, and the maintenance, inventory and accuracy of 2,400 pieces of aviation weapons support equipment."
However, not all of the AOs, or "guys in red," work up on the flight deck or in the hangar bay. Divisions such as G-3 have far less visible responsibilities, such as working down in the ship's many magazines.
"In our weapons magazines we assemble ordnance to be moved up on the flight deck and loaded onto aircraft," said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Teven Reed, a Sailor assigned to G-3 division. "We also hold all ordnance and small arms ammunition in various magazines throughout the ship. While we were in the yards, and over the last couple of months, we have been priming, painting and preparing our magazines so we will be ready to do our job when it is our turn to lead the fight."
In preparation for Abraham Lincoln's return to the fight, AOs and all of weapons department have ensured the safe and complete rehabilitation of more than 230 departmental spaces, 43 weapons magazines, the ships armory, 22 ready stowage and jettison lockers, and the implementation of the new MK-38 gun system.
When Abraham Lincoln was called on to assist with providing relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Sailors found themselves serving in various unexpected capacities.
"Aside from helping onload all the relief supplies, G-1 moved supplies through the hangar bay, G-4 operated the weapons elevator to transport supplies into the magazines for G-3 to store," said Reed.
The teamwork displayed by weapons department during Abraham Lincoln's crisis response is a small glimpse of the ordanceman's operational capability.
"All divisions working together under the ordnance handling officer and gun boss will ensure that we continue to be instrumental in Abraham Lincoln's command success in assessments, trainings and certifications providing this crew the opportunity to get our ship back into the fight, continuing to defend freedom and democracy around the world," said Richey.
For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.