Aviation Ordnanceman Mariko Armstrong, from Denver, takes inventory of BLU-111 500-pound bombs.
Nearly two weeks ago, we were surprised to read on the Navy’s website that one of America’s prize aircraft carriers, CVN-74, John C. Stennis (whose crew is perhaps best known for the following awkward incident), as part of an operational training period in preparation for future deployments, just underwent not only its first ordnance onload since 2010, but, according to Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Jason Engleman, G-5 division’s leading chief petty officer, “the biggest ordnance onload we’ve seen.“
From the Stennis’ blog:
USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) visited Naval Magazine (NAVMAG) Indian Island, the Navy’s primary ordnance storage and handling station on the West Coast, to onload six million pounds of ammunition, Jan. 13-15. “This is the biggest ordnance onload we’ve seen,” said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Jason Engleman, G-5 division’s leading chief petty officer. “We haven’t had an onload since December 2010, and we are ready to show what this warship can do.”
The ship plans to take on two-thirds of its weight capacity during the three day evolution. Bombs, missiles and rounds will be onloaded by 1,400 crane lifts.
“The importance of the Indian Island visit is to provide ammunition for the ship’s defense, and assist with training during this underway,” said Lt. Cmdr. Steve Kashuba, Stennis’ ordnance handler officer.
The ordnance onload was an all-hands evolution and included Sailors from AIMD, air, navigation, safety, security, supply and medical departments. Sailors served as watchstanders, safety observers or ordnance handlers to ensure the evolution ran smoothly.
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Why engage in such a major weapon loading process now? We don’t know, and we certainly won’t until the next deployment of the carrier, currently located in San Diego to receive aircraft and another 2000 sailors, is announced but it does seem coincidental that the same aircraft carrier which the Iranian General Ataollah Salehi warned back in Janiary 2012 “not to return to the Persian Gulf” was being loaded to the gills with weapons ahead of the following three major macro events: i) the sudden and unexpected fall of the US-supported Yemen government; ii) the biggest re-escalation in the Ukraine civil war since the spring of 2014, and iii) the death of the King Abdullah. And who knows what other “unexpected” geopolitical events are about to surprise the world?
While we wait the answer, here are some photos of how the Stennis is loading up with six million pounds of ammo:
Source: Zero Hedge
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.