PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) -- An announcement that, "All hands are invited to the hangar bay to participate in a FOD walk-down," bursts over the 1MC aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) before foreign object debris (FOD) walkdowns held daily at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
This announcement invites all hands on board to join the ship's Air Department and FOD detection team in their efforts to keep the hangar bay and flight deck free of debris.
FOD walkdowns are all-hands evolutions on board George Washington. They are held twice a day in the ship's hangar bay and once, at varying times, on the flight deck.
"Generally our entire department, aside from a few bodies being left in the offices, participate in the walk-downs," said Aviation's Electrician Airman Chanel M. Curbeam, from Baltimore. "The aircraft are our responsibility being in this [Air] department and we take pride in being an active part of the team, helping to keep them mission ready. We are constantly transferring aircraft from the hangar bay to the flight deck so the walkdowns are necessary to make sure nuts and bolts haven't fallen off or we haven't forgotten a tool. It's all about quality assurance."
George Washington's FOD team continuously strives for FOD-free environments for aircraft and have put preventative measures in place to prevent FOD, but Sailors must remain focused with their eyes on the deck during walkdowns.
"We do these walk-downs in silence for effectiveness," said Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate Walter Castillo, Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) IM-3 division leading chief petty officer. "FOD is the responsibility of the Sailors on board GW because the debris found on the flight deck and in the hangar bays are usually items brought through by us."
If a Sailor finds something, he or she will hold it up in the air and continue to look for more objects. Even something small can cause major damage to equipment and aircraft, and somewhere down the line possibly injure personnel.
"It's a simple process that produces excellent results," said Castillo. "We have to take care of what is ours to ensure we are combat ready. As long as we continue to play our parts, we can remain incident-free and continue on with our mission with as few bumps in the road as possible."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, are on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. George Washington will conduct a hull-swap with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) later this year after serving seven years as the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier in Yokosuka, Japan.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.