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    Military Sealift Command’s USNS Richard E. Byrd Participates in First At-Sea Aircraft Carrier F135 Engine Power Module Delivery

    Military Sealift Command’s USNS Richard E. Byrd Participates in First  At-Sea Aircraft Carrier F135 Engine Power Module Delivery

    Photo By Sarah Burford | Civil service mariner crew members onboard the Military Sealift Command dry...... read more read more



    Story by Sarah Burford 

    Military Sealift Command Pacific

    Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) participated in the Navy’s first at-sea aircraft carrier helicopter transfer of an F135 engine power module load simulator, March 6, off the coast of San Diego.

    Working with U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 466, and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Byrd delivered the power module to the transfer area. The crew then moved the module to the flight deck, where a EurocopterAS332 Super Puma and a U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters picked-up the module, by using a sling, transferring it to the aircraft carrier, and then returning it to the Byrd. The operation was a test for delivery of and the F135 engine, at-sea to an aircraft carrier that will allow high tempo operations at-sea to continue without return to port.

    According to Capt. Lee Apsley, Byrd’s civil service master, the operation began months ago in the planning stage, where surveys and training with the ship’s cranes was performed to ensure the module could be moved safely from the pier to the ship.

    “USNS Richard Byrd’s crew went over the cranes for both fully extended and max lift near pedestal,” said Apsley. “The biggest focus of preparation was ensuring a subject matter expert for rigging was available during initial lift aboard and during vertical move.”
    Once the module was loaded onto Byrd, it was secured until time for transfer, when it was moved onto the flight deck.

    “The crew easily handled moving the F135 module around the flight deck and main deck,” said Apsley. “The challenge was, the module was delivered unrigged, but we had Marines embarked to perform the initial rigging, so we were able to ensure the safety we needed. We have a lot of experience working with the Super Puma (SPUMA). We completed a Commander, 7th Fleet deployment with a SPUMA detachment (DET), so we knew everyone on the SPUMA DET that flew out for the F135 PM event.”

    While delivery of cargo at-sea is a routine operation for MSC. The F135 module delivery to an aircraft carrier gives MSC the ability to provide one more way to support the Navy in an operational environment, and something that Apsley and his crew are proud to have been a part of.

    “Being able to deliver the F135 MOD is one more thing the T-AKE platform can handily accomplish to support the fleet,” said Apsley. “This operation is another MSC first on Byrd. As always it was a pleasure to work with Carl Vinson and the Marines!”

    Byrd will continue to conduct logistics operations in the Pacific area of operation, as part of MSC’s support to the U.S. Navy.



    Date Taken: 03.09.2021
    Date Posted: 03.09.2021 13:44
    Story ID: 390939
    Location: US

    Web Views: 360
    Downloads: 0