OFF THE COAST OF SUMATRA (NNS) -- Sailors from USS Abraham Lincoln's (CVN 72) Engineering Department Repair Division designed a potable water manifold to help bring fresh water to Aceh Province, Sumatra, in the wake of the Dec. 26 tsunami tragedy. The system began shipping the much-needed fresh water Jan. 4.
The initial concern for Lincoln was to devise some way to fill as many water containers as possible in a timely manner.
"The initial ideas, like cutting a 55 gallon drum in half and using that as a source to then fill water bottles, just wasn't efficient," said Chief Hull Maintenance Technician Kevin Swem, Repair Division leading chief, from Coquille, Ore. "After finding out that our Reactor Department is producing the potable water, we then sat down and went over a number of ways to make this happen. We needed a system that was quick and was controlled to not spill."
According to Swem, the system that he and his crew came up with is modeled after the concept of how a dairy farm efficiently fills milk containers. They constructed a manifold - a pipe with multiple spigots and connections to the ship's water main system.
"As soon as we had the concept, we collected all the parts and worked all night," Swem said. "I kept reminding everyone that the entire world was watching, and we had to get this right. The Indonesian people need the water, and we had the means to get it to them. The teamwork that everyone showed making this job come together was about the best I've ever seen. I only wish that we could do more."
Once the faucets were turned on and the assembly line manned, Lincoln Sailors rapidly got the water supply line ready to transfer.
"We've sent 5,068 gallons of water in two days," said Ensign Marcus Machart of Engineering E Division. "As long as there is any room on any helicopter going ashore, that space will have a water container in it. It took our Reactor Department volunteers around 45 minutes to fill and stack 800 five-gallon containers. We're only limited by the number of containers we have and the weight limit the helicopter can carry."
"The rapid response we demonstrated by constructing the potable water manifold shows we're willing to use all of our resources and the abilities of our Sailors to help," said Lt. Cmdr. Richard Hager, Lincoln damage control assistant, from Atlanta. "I am as proud as can be that we can be contributing any way we can."
Lt. j.g. Bradley Dandurand, repair officer, found out firsthand just how vital the precious liquid was needed.
"The fresh water is so vital to the people in the region," the Klamath Falls, Ore., native explained. "Even something as simple as filling five-gallon and two-and-a-half gallon containers helps to make a difference."
Since the start of the New Year, Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Sailors have lent help and support in needed areas, such as search and rescue operations, delivery of food, water and medicine to stabilize life-threatening situations, providing limited transportation of displaced persons to designated areas from areas inaccessible to host nation transportation assets, and engineering support for sanitation and mobility to affected areas.
The Lincoln CSG consists of the cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) and destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65), both homeported in San Diego. Other ships include Everett, Wash.-based destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86), and Bremerton, Wash.-based fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7).
Abraham Lincoln is the flagship for Rear Adm. Doug Crowder, commander, Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group. Abraham Lincoln is also home to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 9, commanded by Capt. Jon W. Kaufman, and Commander, Carrier Air Wing 2, commanded by Capt. Lawrence D. Burt. Capt. Kendall L. Card, of Fort Stockton, Texas, commands Abraham Lincoln at the center of the strike group.
For related news on Navy tsunami relief operations, visit the Focus on Tsunami Relief Operations page at www.navy.mil/local/tsunami.
For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.