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Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Melissa K. Legette,
left, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA)
213, assists Hospital Corpsman 1st Class
(SW/AW) Anna M. Nelson treat a simulated
casualty in the ship's hangar bay, Oct. 14.

GHWB Carrier Strike Group work together to achieve success
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian M. Brooks

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2010) – The crew of USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) are working together with Sailors of the air wing and strike group to seamlessly integrate the influx of new and returning personnel back to the ship.

According to a muster report taken Oct. 12, GEORGE H.W. BUSH is now host to more than 1,700 Sailors and civilians from Carrier Strike Group TWO, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 and Destroyer Squadron Twenty Two for her first training exercise with the strike group, in addition to the 3,013-strong ship’s company.

Various departments pulled together in order to help keep work productivity steady and shipboard services constant.

Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Melody White, from Supply Department’s S-2 Division, said the first day underway the chow lines were very long and Sailors had to wait anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes just to get to the serving line.

“After seeing the long lines it was decided to make the serving lines mostly self-serve to move the lines along faster,” White said.

According to White, the staff also informed the Sailors waiting in the lines of other options available such as utilizing the port and starboard lines and the speed line for Sailors “on-the-go.” The forward mess decks were also opened up to accommodate more Sailors.

In addition, squadron Sailors assumed responsibilities as Food Service Attendants to more efficiently manage the increased workload on the mess decks.

“Twenty-one Sailors assigned to the air wing are helping out by being food service attendants on the enlisted mess decks,” said Chief Logistics Specialist (AW/SW) Alaric W. Best, Supply Department’s S-2M leading chief petty officer. “They are a big help to me and my staff.”

“The wait in the chow lines decreased to about a five minute wait once we made the changes and informed the crew of their options. I see smooth sailing for the rest of this underway,” White said.

Supply Department’s Disbursing Office S-4 Division has noticed the big increase in personnel through their revenue since the embark according to Personnel Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Monica S. Davis.

“Over the past week we’ve serviced more than 700 personnel and have increased our revenues by $11,000 daily,” Davis said. “We have added a third shift to accommodate Sailors working night check.”

Another service every Sailor uses that has received assistance is the ship’s Medical Department.

“It’s been about a good 10 to 15 percent increase in patients,” Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Robert W. High said. “The influx of patients hasn’t greatly affected us seeing how we have corpsmen from the air wing on board as well.”

High said the air wing provided around 10 personnel to work with the shipboard staff, to include two flight surgeons, and are incorporated into the duty watchbill rotation.

“It’s always a transition. It’s not hard once you’ve done it before and easier to get back to it once you’ve done it the second or third time,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (AW) Rodney T. Holman, from Strike Fighter Squadron 15, when asked about his time on board with the air wing.

Teamwork plays a major part when it comes to the ship’s Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) and the maintenance personnel of the air wing.

According to Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class (AW/SW) Roy A. Camangian, leading petty officer of AIMD’s IM-4 Division, they provide a lot of the support equipment for the squadrons.

“We work hand-in-hand with squadron personnel when it comes to support equipment, equipment checks and training,” Camangian said.

 Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class (AW/SW) Anthony Jones, IM-4’s Training Petty Officer, echoed Camangian’s message about training.

“We tailor the training for the needs of the squadron,” Jones said. “If a squadron has a lot of people qualified in one area and only two or three in another, then we will focus on the qualification that fewer people have.”

Jones also mentioned that the training schedule is pre-made to cover the entire underway period for this month but if he needs to add a class, as long as he as a minimum of three Sailors who need the training, he is more than willing to set it up.

“Overall, I think everything is going well and I’m sure it will just get better,” High said.