WATERS TO THE EAST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA (NNS) -- Forty Sailors were recognized, Oct. 29, for their part in extinguishing an aircraft fire in the hangar bay of the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).
Thirty-three of those Sailors were awarded Flag Letters of Commendations (FLOC) for their efforts to extinguish an electrical and hydraulic fire inside an E-2C Hawkeye in the ship's hangar bay, Oct. 18.
During the award ceremony, Rear Adm. John Alexander, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet, thanked Sailors from the "Liberty Bells" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115, Ronald Reagan's Air Department hangar bay fire team, and Ronald Reagan's emergency firefighting team, called the Flying Squad, for their combined efforts to extinguish the fire.
"Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for your bravery. And thank you for your commitment to the Ronald Reagan team and this ship," the admiral said.
Damage Controlman Fireman Kaleb Romero, from Lufkin, Texas, received a FLOC for his efforts as a hoseman when fighting the fire.
"It's awesome to get recognition for this," said Romero. "This was the first casualty I've had to face, so it's great to know all that training paid off."
According to Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Brian Haynes, hangar deck petty officer, from Walterboro, S.C., the crew's extensive training and drilling made for a successful firefight.
"We drill and we train every chance we can," he said. "The main thing I stress to my crew every morning is that you can't come to work with the attitude that nothing is going to happen. After a while the training may become redundant, but this is exactly why we do it. Ronald Reagan Air Department's V-3 Division were the initial responders and they did a fantastic job. Their recognition is well deserved."
Ronald Reagan and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
For more news from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.