Vinson Sailors Strive to Maintain Qualifications

Story Number: NNS070322-08Release Date: 3/22/2007 4:00:00 PM
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By Mass Communications Specialist Maja A. Dyson, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- While USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) undergoes refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard, Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier are striving to maintain their qualifications in preparation for the ship's eventual return to sea.

Twenty-three Sailors from Carl Vinson's weapons department returned from Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev., in early March after receiving hands-on training on how to assemble weapons safely and efficiently while enhancing their skills in teamwork.

"Our main objective on the trip was to support Carrier Air Group (CAG) 3, which is currently embarked on board USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74)," said Lt. Mike Baldwin, G-3 division officer. "This trip gave us the opportunity for great training that allowed us to come together as a team."

Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW/SW) Bobby Lee, weapons department quality assurance division leading petty officer, said building teamwork is essential for new Sailors assigned to Carl Vinson's weapons team.

"The majority of the personnel we sent to Fallon were fairly new to the Navy," said Lee. "They adapted very well to their environment and proved they can do the job when it counts."

And, it's an operational environment that Carl Vinson Sailors must prepare for far before the ship leaves ROCH.

"Our main goal is to practice the kind of work we will be doing when the ship gets underway," Baldwin said. "We incorporate lots of hands-on demonstrations with classroom instruction. We built about 80 to 120 bombs a day during classroom hours."

To make the weapons training successful, Baldwin brought a mix of seasoned weapons professionals to mentor the less experienced Sailors.

"We took a mixed group so the knowledge could be disseminated throughout the department," said Lee. "The training allowed us to stay current on critical skill sets for our Sailors."

Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Jose Perez, of G-3 division's production crew, was one Sailor who benefited from the training.

"Not only did we conduct training on ordnance handling, but we also focused on weapon's safety," Perez said. "Without safety in our line of work, someone could get hurt or killed."

The 21 days at Fallon went a long way in ensuring Carl Vinson weapons Sailors are ready for the challenges ahead of them.

"We all are on sea duty," said Lee. "That is why it's important we maintain our qualifications, so our other team members do not have to pick up our slack."

For the team's efforts in Fallon, CAG 3 Commander Capt. James Cook recently gave a "Bravo Zulu" to Carl Vinson ordnancemen for "an exceptional job well done." Cook said the professionalism and flexibility displayed on a daily basis in support of the airwing was phenomenal.

Carl Vinson weapons department will continue to send Sailors to Fallon to preserve their operational readiness in a shipyard environment. By doing so, Carl Vinson's weapons team will be ready when the ship leaves RCOH and returns to sea.

For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at

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