NAVAL WEAPONS STATION SEAL BEACH, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors with Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 1 (NCHB-1) participated in their first expeditionary ordnance reload (EXORD) training evolution on Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, California, as part of Exercise Pacific Blitz 2019 (PacBlitz19).
Navy Munitions Command CONUS West (NMC CONUS West) provided demonstration and instruction to the Sailors of NCHB-1 as they conducted EXORD, the rapid re-supply of a ship with ordnance, with USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112).
To witness this Navy cargo handler first was Rear Adm. Brian J. Brakke, commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, Capt. Nate Moyer, commander, Expeditionary Warfare Development Center, and Kevin L. Miller, director, Navy Munitions Command CONUS West alongside the ship’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. Christopher J. Forch and Command Master Chief Jacob Shafer.
The event March 13 was a demonstration of capabilities and focused on training NCHB-1 Sailors on the utilization of proper equipment and procedures.
The day began with the expeditionary reload team (ERT), made up of NCHB-1 Sailors, embarking a landing craft unit with a fly-away kit to simulate operations in an expeditionary environment.
“This was an evolution and concept we have been training for but this is the first time we have been tasked with this type of ordnance mission,” said NCHB-1 Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Doug Gearing. “The ERT was ready to go work and learn as much as they could in the process.”
On scene, the ERT conducted maintenance pre-checks, ensuring their equipment was in proper condition, and familiarized themselves with gas management components, rigging equipment and lifting procedures.
“First and foremost, it’s critical to ensure the gear we are using is good to go to prevent any safety mishaps as ordnance evolutions can be very dangerous and protocols have to be met,” said NCHB-1 Aviation Ordnanceman Raymond Gibree, from Worcester, Massachusettes. “The visual of the evolution can appear to be a simple lift in and out but it’s actually pretty complex in nature.”
Once the pre-checks were completed, the evolution kicked off. NCHB-1 Sailors practiced using a forklift to load SM-2 missiles onto the MK-23 Tilt Fixture. Once the missiles were placed in a vertical position on the fixture, they were lifted by crane onto the Michael Murphy. Finally, the missiles were lowered into a vertical launch system (VLS) cell aboard the ship, completing the evolution.
“What you can’t see is the coordination with the USS Michael Murphy,” said Gibree. “The intricacies with gas management within the VLS cell is something our guys are getting some good first-hand experience with.”
The evolution provided the real-time operational concept and capabilities of an expeditionary reload team and cross training for the multiple entities involved.
“The ERT did a great job today and showed how diverse we can be with our mission set,” said NCHB-1 Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Marc Camposanto, from Vallejo, California. “NMC CONUS West provided us with valuable training that we will implement in the future.”
Pacific Blitz 19 is designed to train Marines and Sailors in maritime prepositioning force operations and aims to increase proficiency, expand levels of cooperation and to enhance maritime capabilities. PacBlitz19 also provides realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global U.S Navy and Marine Corps.
For more news from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command , visit www.navy.mil/local/necc/.