USS Harry S. Truman Sailor Finds an Unusual Piece of FOD

Story Number: NNS080321-01Release Date: 3/21/2008 9:58:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Damian Martinez, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- When the words foreign object debris (FOD) come to mind the last thing someone thinks about is an owl. On the morning of March 17 on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), an owl is exactly what was found. What might have been a mishap, ended on a happier note thanks to a few Sailors' attention to detail.

"I was the safety behind the 300 jet. That's why I probably ended up there first," said Aviation Structural Mechanic (Equipment) 3rd class Jeremy Smith, a Sailor attached to the "Ragin' Bulls" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 37.

He was called over by Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Apprentice Tony McJohnston, also part of VFA 37. What they found was a screech owl.

Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd class Zachary Gorman who is attached to Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 7, the "Dusty Dogs," is a licensed falconer in the U.S. He was called to the scene to check the status of the bird.

"When I got there, I checked him over to make sure he didn't have any broken wings and if he was dehydrated or malnourished," said Gorman.

Gorman and the flight deck medical team nursed the owl, or "Fod" as Flight Deck Control liked to call him, back to health by giving him a shot of sugar water to help rehydrate him.

Gorman said after treating the bird they found no life-threatening problems.

"For the most part the bird was healthy, just a little tired," said Gorman. He also made sure "Fod" was okay in a box the crew dubbed his makeshift "stateroom." Gorman has been working with birds of prey since the age of 12 and said he was more than happy to help the animal.

"I've worked with a lot of owls throughout the years, but I never thought I'd have to deal with one on a carrier in the middle of the Gulf" said Gorman.
The owl could not reside on board indefinitely so they came up with another plan.

"Since he was in a weak condition, flying to land would decrease his chances of survival so we thought we would give him a hand," said Gorman.

Preparations were made to fly the owl off the ship on a Carrier Onboard Delivery to land, where he was released safely and out of harms way.

"It was a free ride. They were going there anyway so we made it a little bit easier on him," said Gorman.

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Airman Jacob Larsen holds
080318-N-1688B-002 PERSIAN GULF (March 18, 2008) Airman Jacob Larsen holds "Fod," a screech owl that was found on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). The owl was discovered in the left-main wheel well of an F/A 18 Hornet during a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft. Truman and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 are deployed supporting Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and maritime security operations. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Bookwalter (Released)
March 21, 2008
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