USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- A Sailor aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) discovered a piece of foreign object debris (FOD) inside one of the ships catapults Dec. 16.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Mark Noriega of Air Department, V-2 division was on steam watch making his rounds when he stumbled upon a shuttle guide in the trough under the deck plates.
The piece is attached to the lower back of a catapult shuttle as a wear block guiding the shuttle down the catapult track ensuring the shuttle does not fish tail back and forth and actually wear down the shuttle frame.
"That was something extremely rare to find and see, because normally it just doesn't happen," Noriega explained. "It is torqued on with screws tightly secured in and safety wired, so that the screws do not come off. The only way it's going to come off is if the screws break or something really bad happens to it."
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Maintenance Officer, Ensign Joseph L. Justice said Noriega saved the ship thousands of dollars and the current mission by keeping catapult three fully operational for flight operations.
"Damage that could have been possibly done to the shuttle would have cost over $43,000 to replace the shuttle itself," Justice said.
Noriega's finding reiterates the importance of FOD walk downs conducted daily on the flight deck and in the Hangar Bay.
"FOD walk downs are very important because anything that is found on the deck that is not supposed to be there could damage aircrafts," Noriega said. "You might hate doing them, but it is part of the job. FOD prevents debris from being sucked into a jet engine causing an engine mishap, or in front of a catapult initiating a crash."
Justice said Noriega's discovery of the shuttle guide was a FOD hazard preventing any kind of disablement on catapult three.
"The shuttle guide was actually in between the cylinders which is what we consider FOD," Justice said.
Noriega, a Sailor not used to the lime light, was very modest in his ways and saw what he did as an everyday thing he is suppose to do.
"I think the reason everyone is making such a big deal about it, is because no else saw it," Noriega said. "For me I enjoy doing what I do aboard this ship and I'm glad that I found the piece and we were able to repair it before any other equipment problems could happen."
Truman, homeported in Norfolk, is attached to Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 10, is currently deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of the ongoing rotation to support Maritime Security Operations in the region.
Coalition forces conduct MSO under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is made up of CCSG-10 staff, Harry S. Truman, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 26 staff, guided missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Hue City (CG 66); guided missile destroyers USS Carney (DDG 64), USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) and USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81); the Canadian frigate HMCS Charlottetown (FFG 339); and the British destroyer HMS Manchester (D 95).
CVW-3 consists of Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 11, VFA-32, VFA-37 and VFA-105; Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron VAQ-130; Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126; and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 7.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.