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    Essex Sailors Scrambling to Supply Sister Ships with Spare Parts

    MC1 Okula interviews USS ESSEX Sailors

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Marie Montez | SAN DIEGO (March 9, 2019) Mass Communication Specialist First Class Christopher Okula...... read more read more

    SAN DIEGO (March 10, 2019) – Logistics specialists aboard the recently-returned USS Essex (LHD 2) were scrambling around the hangar bay over the weekend to prepare spare parts and equipment for transfer to other amphibious assault ships, which are preparing to leave San Diego for their own deployments.

    Essex, which returned on March 1 from its eight-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, carried millions of dollars’ worth of material needed to sustain, repair, and replace various weapons systems, including a Marine Corps' F-35B Lightning II which was the first such aircraft used in combat by the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit against a ground target in Afghanistan on Sept. 27, 2018.

    Now that Essex is back home and preparing to enter a planned maintenance cycle, the logistics team has a narrow window of time with which to fulfill the needs of other U.S. Naval vessels that can put these spare parts to use.

    In a world where parts are frequently expensive, unavailable, or no longer suitable, the Navy strives to maximize the use of existing materials by transferring needed supplies from ship to ship in a logistics term known as cross-decking.

    “In a perfect world, every ship would have their own outfit of spares,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa A. Klitz, a logistics specialist from Amarillo, Texas. “But that would be really expensive.”

    Klitz serves as the leading petty officer for her ship's aviation supply division, and was supervising transfer efforts for the day. She gestured toward a section of the hangar bay no bigger than a two-car garage, piled high with pallets, containers, and crates.

    “This stack alone represents over a billion dollars,” Klitz said, motioning a forklift operator to position his vehicle in front of a spare engine for the CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter.

    “It takes a lot of coordination,” Klitz said. “But these parts need to get used.”

    As the next ships in the deployment cycle, USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and USS America (LHA 6) are each slated to receive the bulk of spare parts currently aboard USS Essex. When these ships return from their respective deployments, they too will perform the same cross-decking routine.

    One ship, scheduled to deploy this spring, is already planning its composite training unit exercise – a preparatory trial that will ensure that the ship, its Sailors, and other strike group assets are fully prepared for the coming months at sea.

    The necessity to move supplies where they're needed most may require the Navy's logistics specialists to plan for the occasional busy weekend, but cross-decking serves to sustain the Navy's operational needs in as efficient and cost-effective manner as possible.

    USS Essex and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit were recently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in order to support regional stability, reassure partners and allies, and maintain the ability to respond to crisis.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 03.02.2019
    Date Posted: 03.11.2019 11:58
    Story ID: 313739
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 
    Hometown: AMARILLO, TX, US
    Hometown: SAN DIEGO, CA, US

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