USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- The squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 embarked on board the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercises left for their home stations beginning with the fly off Aug. 8.
Disembarking an air wing is a massive undertaking and requires coordination between many different departments.
As many as 700 tri-wall reinforced storage boxes will be moved from the ship, said Cmdr. Frank Bennet, Nimitz' maintenance officer.
"We've got to coordinate with squadrons; as soon as the last plane leaves we start getting all the tri-walls moved to the hangar bays," said Bennet.
"When that last plane takes off, it's a scramble to get everything into the tri-walls," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Jason Everett, corrosion prevention leading petty officer for Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154.
Each squadron will get approximately 30 tri-walls to fill with supplies they brought on board for the underway including computers, tools, chains, support equipment, televisions and grease pencils.
"It's like Tetris getting everything to fit inside," said Cpl. Jeremiah Clark, assigned to Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 323. "I already have a packing list of where everything goes, and everything we have is really organized, especially our tool boxes. It will only take us about two hours to do the actual packing."
As the ship pulls pier-side, shore based cranes will be in place to move the boxes to the pier where a fleet of forklifts will load the trucks which will depart for their home bases.
This offload presents the challenge of simultaneously on-loading gear for the fleet replacement squadrons, which are to go underway with Nimitz for carrier qualifications.
"The hardest part is getting everything staged," said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Hildalgo, officer in charge of the offload. "We have nine squadrons to move. It's going to be an all hands effort."
Security, Air Department, Supply Department, Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department, Safety Department and all the squadrons coordinate between each other and Naval Air Station North Island to ensure all the gear is moved properly.
The offload marks the final step in the completion of RIMPAC 2012.
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