Truman Completes Deployment's First Replenishment At Sea

Story Number: NNS100531-03Release Date: 5/31/2010 9:37:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman David Cothran, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, at sea (NNS) -- The USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) received 500,000 gallons of JP-5 jet fuel from fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO) on May 29 during the first replenishment-at-sea (RAS) of the deployment.

RASs are important to Navy vessels for many different reasons. A RAS allows the ship to maintain the proper amount of fuel and supplies so the ship can continue its mission without constantly pulling into port.

The evolution provided critical fuel for Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, Truman's embarked air wing, and allowed Truman Sailors to conduct hands-on training and refresh their replenishment skills.

"Having the air wing on board makes a carrier's RAS unique compared to other ships," said Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Shawn Pankratz, who served as the number one rigger for Deck department's first division.

Pankratz explained that because the carrier has exposed aircraft on the flight deck, the replenishing oiler cannot fire the shot lines that are required to start the replenishment. Instead, Truman Sailors fired shot lines at Big Horn.

The design of Big Horn allows it to service two ships simultaneously, enabling USS Normandy (CG 60) to also take on fuel. The three ships sailed in close proximity and made an impressive photo opportunity for Sailors who were witnessing the evolution for the first time. However, although RASs are necessary, they are also dangerous evolutions that require considerable skill and focus.

According to Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Shavanda Stephens, the leading petty officer of Truman's Deck department's second division, the standard distance between ships during a RAS ranges from 180 to 200 feet, allowing minimal room for error.

The intense training, focus on safety, and professionalism of the participants are what made the operation go smoothly, said Pankratz.

Capt. Joseph Clarkson, Truman's commanding officer, praised the crew for their performance during the RAS.

"That was as picture-perfect an evolution as I have ever seen aboard Truman," he said.

In appreciation for the fuel received, Truman observed a Navy custom of sending the crew of Big Horn a 'thank you' gift, which included a freshly baked key-lime pie and a Truman ball cap.

With her jet fuel stores replenished, Truman observed the customary "breakaway" song and departed Big Horn to the tune of Joe Satriani's "Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing", having completed the first of what the crew hopes will be several successful RAS evolutions during this deployment.

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