USS Gerald Ford completes its first underway replenishment

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 5, 2017) -- USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) pulls alongside USNS William Mclean (T-AKE 12) during an underway replenishment evolution. Ford is currently underway conducting test and evaluation operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Elliott)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The USS Gerald R. Ford successfully completed its first underway replenishment (UNREP) Monday.

During an UNREP, supplies such as fuel, ammunition and food are sent across cables from another ship.

USNS William McLean transferred 16,000 gallons of jet fuel (JP-5) to the ship.

The successful completion of the UNREP was a huge milestone for the Ford, which is underway conducting test and evaluation operations.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 5, 2017) — Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Lucas McInerney, of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) deck department, signals to USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) during a replenishment-at-sea. Ford is underway conducting test and evaluation operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cat Campbell)

“This is one of the most important qualifications we need for the ship,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Christopher Joseph in a press release.

The number of times a UNREP can occur while out to sea varies on the mission of the ship, according to Joseph.

With the Ford being a brand new, first-in-class aircraft carrier, sailors anxiously anticipated the experience.

“This is our first time doing this,” said Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Chauncey Cram in a press release. “I’ve been waiting a long time to do an UNREP, and I’m pretty excited.”

A lot goes into preparation for an UNREP to ensure everything goes smoothly. Safety is also a key factor in the operation.

Chief Boatswain’s Mate Robert Shirley said in a press release, “This is probably the most dangerous evolution that Deck department does; it’s two ships side-by-side going through the water hooked up by tension wire. There’s always a danger. We can’t get rid of all of the danger, but we mitigate it the best we can.”

“Today was a significant day for the ship and our crew,” said Capt. Richard C. McCormack, Ford’s commanding officer, “This is an important milestone in the life of the ship and I could not be more proud of how the team came together to make today’s UNREP a success.”

 

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 5, 2017) — USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) deck department Sailors wait to begin a replenishment-at-sea with USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12). Ford is currently underway conducting test and evaluation operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher Ruiz)