Since March 2014, everything from printers to cleaning supplies have been brought on board Pre-commissioning Unit (PCU) America (LHA 6). It has taken the combined effort of all its departments to ensure the freshly-painted warship is ready for Ship’s Custody Transfer (SCT) from Ingalls Shipbuilding Industries.
America is nearing completion in Pascagoula, Miss., and the more than 900 Sailors moving aboard the ship will be expecting all their supplies to be in place so work can continue as normal.
“Our folks in Supply Department are doing a great job of spearheading the load-out process,” said PCU America (LHA 6) Executive Officer Capt. Michael Baze. “We have an amazing crew that works together to ensure America will be setup for success for years to come.”
Logistics Specialist 1st Class Nicholas Campbell, assigned to America, said that more than 80 percent of the Consolidated Shipboard Allowance Listing (COSAL) has been brought aboard and the process of inventorying the other 20 percent has already begun.
America’s supply department utilizes the COSAL to list the items required to achieve maximum, self-supporting capabilities for an extended period of time. The COSAL provides the ship with basic guidance for determining items that should be stocked. Once those items are attained, the next step is to get them onto the ship.
“COSAL is important, because it gives us a chance to actually verify the supplies brought aboard,” said Campbell. “Then we move ahead and do a load-out.”
It takes hard work and manpower to get supplies to their designated spaces once they are accrued. More than 2,000 pallets of cargo have been brought aboard the ship. Supply department utilizes working parties to unload the supplies from the ship’s hangar bay and bring them to their respective spaces.
During a load-out of more than 3,200 mattresses and bedding kits, Sailors formed human chain-links to deliver the items to their designated berthing spaces. It was not uncommon to hear Sailors chanting or singing in unison during the 100-person working party.
“Load-outs build camaraderie within the command and departments, because all hands are a part of it in one way or another,” said Campbell. “Everyone has been flexible with their timing and manning. Right now, we’re ahead of schedule, and that wouldn’t be possible without the entire command’s participation.”
Each department is responsible for supplying a specific amount of personnel to assist during working parties. Some Sailors are even sent to Supply Department on a Temporary Assigned Duty (TAD) status for up to six months. One of those Sailors is Electronics Technician 3rd Class Tyler Parent.
“Everybody’s doing their part and working towards a common goal,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Tyler J. Parent. “I’m willing to help out the ship any way I can, and if that means hauling a bunch of boxes and mattresses, I’ll gladly do it.”
Parent, who has been a part of 12 separate load-outs, said he’s amazed at the vast array of items brought aboard.
“We’ve been bringing on everything that a ship needs to survive, stuff that you wouldn’t even think about,” said Parent. “You would normally expect staples to already be on board, but they’re not, because you’re the first one bringing them on. It’s pretty cool when you think about it like that. “
Being part of America’s COSAL process gives Sailors an opportunity to see the process of bringing a ship to life first hand.
“This experience has given me a better understanding of how the whole process works, and I can take that with me when I go back to my department,” Parent said. “I definitely won’t be taking my mattress for granted.”
America is almost ready for Sailors to move aboard, and there is an added excitement as the ship prepares for commissioning in San Francisco later this year. New obstacles unique to only pre-com Sailors will arise, and as their hard work during the COSAL process has shown, they will be ready to meet those challenges.
PCU America will be the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa-class of amphibious assault ships. The ship was christened Oct. 20, 2012 and is currently undergoing construction in Pascagoula, Miss.