News: Thunderbolts receive mail and supplies
Story by Lance Cpl. Courtney White
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. - The USS Enterprise performed its largest replenishment at sea in more than three years, March 3. Marines and sailors from all of the squadrons and ship’s company worked together, as part of a 300–man working party to bring aboard 575 pallets of supplies during the eight-hour underway replenishment.
The Enterprise received more than one million gallons of jet fuel, 170 pallets of spare parts, 300 pallets of food and 90 pallets of mail for the Marines and sailors from the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic.
“It is motivating to see everything we need to complete the mission come on board,” said Lance Cpl. Matthew Adkins, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 infrared technician attached with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251. “Having an UNREP is a morale booster for everyone.”
The UNREP was performed in the Red Sea where the ship has been conducting flight operations. The ship’s navigation team had to work together to ensure the two ships stayed close enough to conduct the operation. The two large ships were separated by approximately 180 feet with wires connecting the two ships to pass the large boxes of supplies and fuel across, while a helicopter carried boxes from the Arctic to the Enterprise’s flight deck.
The Marines and sailors worked quickly and fluently together to make the mission run smoothly. They had to hurry to get the frozen foods quickly put away by making lines to pass the food down to the freezer and take several different routes to get the products to their destination.
“Being a part of the UNREP was a lot of work but it felt good knowing that we were stocking up on food and supplies that we really needed,” said Lance Cpl. Jordan Rosenlund, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 hybrid test station technician attached with VMFA-251. “It definitely made me feel like I was helping out and doing my part to accomplish the mission at hand. It is important that us Marines help out because we are a part of the team and can’t expect to be a part of it without helping out.”
The service members were excited to have fresh fruits and vegetables during chow time and have the ship’s store and vending machines stocked with a variety of food items and beverages.
“When we don’t have an UNREP for awhile the food becomes repetitive and there are no fresh fruits so we eat a lot more packaged foods like Pop Tarts,” Adkins said. “I am always glad when we have an UNREP because chow is one of the few things to look forward to on deployment, it is nice to have it replenished so we can eat better.”
The Marines anxiously waited to receive their many packages from friends and family after the administrative Marines spent hours sorting the mail.
“My job was to sign for the mail, supervise and help sort it,” said Gunnery Sgt. Christian Morera, the VMFA-251 administration staff noncommissioned officer. “I was proud to do my part, the mail and replenishment of food is a great morale booster for the Marines.”
Several Marines received packages and after being permitted to pick up their packages, rushed down to pick them up and walked away with a smile. The packages and mail from home is a morale booster for the service members.
“Getting mail while deployed is like Christmas,” said Lance Cpl. Jeena Juliano, a VMFA-251 powerline technician. “Mail call gives you something to look forward to and it reminds you that your family is thinking about you. It is especially nice to receive items that you can’t purchase on the ship.”
Nuclear ships like the USS Enterprise are made to last out at sea for long periods of time with their only need being fuel and food for the people on the ship. In between UNREPs the service members work together to conserve supplies but are always thankful for their next replenishment.