PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- During a 12-hour Fast Cruise Nov. 21, USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) Air Department began preparing its crew to move out of Norfolk Naval Shipyard and get underway.
Though every department aboard Truman is getting underway, the Air Department had a vital part in the fast cruise evolutions.
Lt. Tim Castro, the catapult and arresting gear officer and the visual landing aids branch officer, explained how the five air department divisions work together to get the Truman moving.
"The mission of the Truman is to fly aircraft and support the commander in accomplishing any mission, including contributing to the fight in the global war on terrorism," said Castro.
The V-0 division is responsible for providing administrative support for the entire department, and support the offices for the air boss and assistant air boss. The air bosses are officers who overlook the evolutions and are ultimately responsible for all flight operations.
In a standard evolution, the V-3 division transports aircraft from the hangar bay to the flight deck. The V-4 division fuels the plane on the flight deck. Then, the V-1 division positions the plane so Sailors from the V-2 division can attach it to the catapults to launch the aircraft.
The Sailors perform drills during general quarters to prepare for any mishaps or emergencies that may occur during this evolution.
"We do timed evolutions to bring the plane down in a timely manner in case of an emergency and fight the fire if there is one," said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Leonard Williams, the leading petty officer of the visual landing aids division.
"There are people from the safety department and medical to oversee the drills in case there are any casualties or injuries," said Castro.
"Each drill you learn something new. As we get savvier and get junior Sailors trained, we bring in the squadrons from the air wing. That adds another element to the training," said Castro. "It's a continuing learning process."
Airman Neil E. Miller said he is happy to be getting back underway and out of the yards.
"I look forward to deployment," said Miller. "I look forward to participating in day-to-day shipboard activities underway and seeing the different cultures overseas."
Castro added that when sailing back to homeport or traveling overseas, the preparation to launch and receive aircraft is not much different.
"Whether in Portsmouth, Norfolk, or the Persian Gulf, we practice like we play," Castro said. "The drill encompasses a whole scenario that could actually happen. We have to be ready on all fronts. Being able to respond to anything is the key."
Castro said he is very excited about the deployment and the opportunities it will bring.
"Even in the shipyard, our morale and sense of team work is very strong compared to other Sailors. I feel like this is the best ship on the East coast and I can't wait to get out there and show them why," said Castro.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.