By Ens. Yun Sung, Hazardous Material Officer, USS Gerald R. Ford; Ens. Sean Williams, Disbursing Officer, USS Gerald R. Ford; and Lt. William Flores-Mux, Hotel Services Officer, USS Gerald R. Ford
Are you still at the Navy Supply Corps School and undecided with your preferences? Do you want to work alongside hundreds of years of experience in a wardroom of more than 200 officers? Do you want to be aboard the most advanced United States Navy aircraft carrier? Are you looking for guidance and mentorship from Supply Corps commanders, lieutenant commanders, and lieutenants? Do you want to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow Supply Corps junior officers?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then write USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) on every single inch of your preference sheet. Ford is the only aircraft carrier regularly available on the east coast to conduct carrier qualifications for naval aviators and student naval aviators this year, directly contributing to the national security of the United States.
Not only do you get to experience fighter jets landing on the flight deck, day and night, you get to learn about the best technology on the waterfront. Ford’s supply department plays an integral role in operating some of this technology; we enable Ford to do what the ship does best– launch and recover aircraft.
Before launch, the supply department coordinates the onloads and offloads of aircraft and ship repair parts to keep the aircraft running, the flight deck operable, and the crew safe and happy. The aircraft remain mission capable from the efforts of the logistics supply officers--the stock control officer, aviation stores officer, shipping and receiving officer, and the hazardous material (HAZMAT) officer. These officers work tirelessly to order, store, and issue parts to the air wing, such as: depot level repairable, gaskets, and hydraulic fluid. Logistic supply officers work tirelessly to get the parts to the
right personnel, in the right location, at the right time.
Some of the special events coordinated by the logistic supply officers during recent independent steaming events (ISEs) include: mail onloads, the onload and offload of 774 air wing pallets, and the offload of 31 HAZMAT pallets. The stock control division brought on 3,505 pounds of mail and 22 pallets of care packages.
The aviation stores division coordinated two vertical replenishments, one in May and one in June, that totaled 257 pallets. The pallets were placed on the flight deck seamlessly by multi-mission helicopter (MH-60s), brought down on the aircraft carrier elevators, and taken down into the storerooms. The elevators and forklift drivers allowed for the whole evolution to be completed with primarily supply department Sailors instead of traditional ship-wide working parties.
The shipping and receiving division mastered coordinating crane operations with Naval Facilities Engineering Command to onload 774 pallets in three days and to offload them in one. This operation would be a headache for many, but S-8 Material Stores Officer Lt. Kenneth Young took on the task without any hindrances. Young said, “You had a tight window to replenish the ship and to embark the air wing, so teamwork and communication were essential to our success. The coordination from the most junior Sailor through khaki leadership was truly impressive and something I was proud to be a part of.”
The HAZMAT division made sure the flight deck remained operable by providing 200 gallons of hydraulic fluid to the aircraft catch systems. In total, the division issued 2,459 material items and had a reuse savings of $2,735.41, playing a critical role in supporting fixed wing flight operations.
Now, no mission can be completed without a happy, healthy crew. The service supply officers completed amazing feats as well. The food service officer, ship’s store officer, disbursing officer (DISBO), hotel service officer (HSO), and morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) “Fun Boss” have much to brag about.
Food! Food! Wonderful food! The food service division fed the crew amazing brunches every Sunday underway. Brunch is a special meal served once a week aboard Navy ships that includes eggs, pancakes, bacon, an array of fruits, luncheon foods, and healthy servings of prime rib and teriyaki chicken. During ISE 10, the S-2 division served 214,905 meals valued at $851,920.35 of total food consumption.
Sailors cannot get enough of their ship’s store snacks. The ship’s store division, led by Lt. LewiBien Rosure, was in charge of bringing aboard 257 pallets of retail items, $186,000 in merchandise sold, and $29,212.70 in vending sales during ISE 10. The division made quarterly
Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) stock turn in two months. Rosure praised his division, saying, “I am very fortunate to have a group of Retail Services Specialists who enjoy working with each other and supporting the needs of the crew. These successful underways have created a foundation for the retail operations to succeed in future deployments. The numbers show that my Sailors have far surpassed the expectations set by NEXCOM!”
No Sailor or ship rider could have bought any merchandise without a Navy Cash Card. The Ford moved away from cash service to the Navy Cash Card system to remove the necessity for excessive cash dependent transactions to maximize efficiency, and to maintain effective accountability. The disbursing division issued 1,394 Navy Cash Cards to the ship’s crew, air
wing personnel, and contractors. Ford’s DISBO Ens. Sean Williams commented about his division, “we are a tight knit group in the disbursing office; my Sailors are highly attentive and amazingly motivated. They took on the cash cards with no problem at all, and they also collected more than $25,000 over the course of the last two weeks while underway.” Although the division has only three Sailors and their division officer, the lines remained short and their customer service was superb.
Another leader in customer service was the hotel services division. Ford’s HSO Lt. William Flores shared insight on his operations. “Each stateroom has an abundance of space, each storage locker is stocked abundantly with paper towels and toilet paper, and each stateroom contains its own sink, toilet, and shower, which is much better than accommodations found on a Nimitz class carrier,” said Flores. “The Ford class offers a comfortable, clean barbershop, and one-day turnaround for uniform washing and pressing.” Flores’ division turned over 87 staterooms for the carrier air wing and collected more than $56,000 in officer mess bills. Without his division’s efforts, the air wing would not have had a seamless transition boarding or disembarking Ford.
The Fun Boss and the MWR division had the crew in great spirits during ISE 10. Fun Boss coordinated a steel beach picnic that fed more than 4,000 personnel; flight deck 5k runs every weekend, with a total of 817 participants; a Memorial Day “Murph Challenge” where the participant runs a mile, then completes 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 air squats, then runs another mile. The challenge is named in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy, a U.S. Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the War in Afghanistan where he risked his own life to save his teammates during an enemy attack before being killed on June 28, 2005.
Life on board mighty Warship 78 is no walk in the park for the supply department, but we are the ship’s mission enablers and we make sure that the mission happens. If you want to be a part of this ship’s crew, give your best efforts at the navy supply corps school or current tour to prepare yourself for Ford’s high operational tempo.
We challenge you to be one of the few trailblazers who chose to go to sea on board the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and to contribute to the future of naval aviation!