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Let Us See Your Grills

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman James Norman What started as a small repair job for two Sailors aboard 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), turned into a work order for something completely different. Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Cole French and Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Andrew Berton combined their skills to tackle a project. The HT’s were originally tasked to build and stabilize the legs for an old BBQ grill when the idea of building a new grill emerged. ‘’No one in here had built a grill before, so we didn’t have the schematics or ideas of how to make it initially,’’ said French. At the start of the project, French put his imagination and drawing skills to work and produced the layout and design for the look of the new grill. When the drawings were completed, their real work was set out for them, building it. For five days, they grinded, shined, drilled and welded scrap pieces of metal to put the grill together. When the job was finished, French said he felt really good about building the grill. “Knowing that the grill worked and seeing everybody enjoying the food made me feel as if I had really accomplished something.”

Sailors bring ship up to speed

Engineers work double time to get ship to Okinawa in half the time Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone Two Blue Ridge Sailors were awarded Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals by the ship’s commanding officer for their efforts in ensuring the ship was able to get underway in Singapore to support Operation Tomodachi. Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Osarieme Omoregie and Machinery Repairman 2nd Class John Ray overcame obstacles, getting ship moving in time to support the Navy’s involvement in Japan’s disaster relief efforts. Prior to arriving in Singapore, the ship’s line shaft bearing seized due to issues with the condensate pump, putting the ship’s ability to move at risk. “That’s when his crew began to troubleshoot the problems,” Omoregie said. “MR2 Ray had to make precise cuts on the line shaft bearing so we could remove the damaged equipment,” said Omoregie.

Ray was aware that a single mistake could damage the ship’s propulsion system. “Once I finished the job, the machinist’s mates moved in to work on the pump and add a new bearing, until things got worse,” said Ray. “The new bearing seized too.” Omoregie said the ship had one bearing left, putting everything on the line. He called his team together to determine what else was wrong. They found that the wearing ring was severely eroded, causing the shaft to crush the new bearings. A new wearing ring and installed bearing would be vital in getting the ship moving at regular speed. Ray was woken up in the early morning to craft a new wearing ring to the precise dimensions needed. “They needed the part, so I made it. That’s my job,” Ray said.

Produced by Media Services division, Ext. 4155 View this issue online Cover: HT3 Cole French takes a portrait in full SCBA gear. Blue Ridge is an authorized publication for Sailors serving aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). Contents herein are not the views of, or endorsed by the U.S. government, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Navy, or the Commanding Officer of the USS Blue Ridge. All news releases, photos or information for publication in Blue Ridge must be submitted to the Public Affairs Officer.

With a new wearing ring in place Omoregie and his team installed the new bearing, fixing a host of issues with the 1A condensate pump and the ship’s propulsion. In every step of the evolution, a slight deviation could have caused a disaster, according to Omoregie. The evolution lasted more than 27 hours inside the thick heat of the engine room. In a show of gratitude, Capt. Rudy Lupton, commanding officer, awarded Omoregie and Ray with on the spot Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. “Because of our efforts, the ship was able to deploy the next day for Operation Tomodachi. We arrived in the Okinawa area in half the time it would have taken without those repairs,” said Omoregie. “We had a lot of worries, but we overcame everything through good research and by putting our heads together as a team.”

Commanding Officer: Capt. Rudy Lupton Executive Officer: Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Ralston Command Master Chief: CMDCM(SW/SS) David Unnone Public Affairs Officer: Lt. j.g. Clinton Beaird Leading CPO: MCC(SW/AW)Allen Onstott Art Editor: MC1(SW) Josh Huebner Editor: MC3 Fidel C. Hart Copy Editor: MC1(SW) Todd MacDonald Design Director: MC3 Fidel C. Hart Cover Photograph: MC2 Daniel Viramontes

Media Services Staff MC1(SW/AW) Jerome Foltz MC1(SW) Josh Huebner MC2(SW) Brian Dietrick MC2(AW) Steven Khor MC3 Colin Sheridan MC3 Alexandra Arroyo MC3 Melvin Orr MC3 Brian A. Stone MC3 Cale Hatch MCSN James Norman

Department in the Spotlight: Engineering

Engineering: In Their Own Words

EM to MM, Sailors in Engineering divisions talk about what it’s like to be in their respective rates. Story by Blue Ridge Public Affairs


he majority of Sailors on Blue Ridge only see most engineering spaces during drills and ESWS qualification. Go down to the engine room or fire room and you’ll see Sailors that you’ve never seen aboard.

Photo by MC2 Daniel Viramontes

On a daily basis, Engineering department is responsible for operating the ship’s electrical power, keeping shipboard structures and surfaces in good condition, maintain plumbing, operating and maintaining steam turbines and prevent fires. Aboard every Navy ship, engineers are at the heart, keeping ships afloat, safe and operational. What exactly is the day-to-day job like for an engineer aboard Blue Ridge? Several Enginemen, Damage Controlmen, Electrician’s Mates, Machinery Repairmen, Hull Maintenance Technicians, and Machinist’s Mates talk about what their jobs are and why their rates are important on the ship.

Damage Controlman (DC)

When a Sailor first checks aboard ship, one of the first items they are given is a Basic Damage Control PQS book to start training and getting signatures. By the time a Sailor has passed the basic damage control test, they know the difference between Class Alpha and Charlie fires, what type of extinguishing agent is used to effectively put out the respective fires and many other preventive measures for damage control. The job of a Damage Controlman goes a lot deeper than just the basics, though. Damage Controlmen do the work Photo by MC2 Steven Khor

necessary for damage control, ship stability, firefighting, fire prevention and defense against chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) warfare . They also instruct personnel in methods of damage control, repairing damage control systems and equipment, life saving devices and firefighting methods.

“We don’t have the luxury of calling someone for help if a fire breaks out.” -DC2 William Julian

Without the basic training, a Sailor may not be able to combat a fire or flood. No matter how small, any casualty can cripple a ship and cause injury to the crew. Damage Controlman 2nd Class William Julian, a damage control training team leader, said no matter who you are or what your rate is, if you’re on a ship, you’re a firefighter. “We don’t have the luxury of calling someone for help if a fire breaks out,” said Julian. “If you’re out in the middle of the ocean, you’re there and you have to know how to put the fire out.”

Electrician’s Mate (EM)

Most work in the EM rate is performed indoors and done in a shop-like environment. Electrician’s Mates are responsible for the operation of a ship’s electrical power generation systems, lighting systems, electrical equipment and electrical appliances. Their duties involve installing, adjusting, maintaining, inspecting, testing and repairing all electrical equipment. (continued on the next page)

Photo by MC1 Josh Huebner

Photo by MC3 Brian A. Stone

EM’s are also responsible for checking electric appliances for shipboard safety and issuing the safety tags that are required for every appliance that uses an electrical outlet. Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Kimberly Rafanan explained how important it is to have your items safety tagged. “I deal with a lot of people, keeping the ship electrically safe,” Rafanan said. “I’m always giving electrical safety tips, issuing tags and performing electrical safety inspections in berthings. If it is not safety tagged and the person gets shocked, it is the owners fault. If they have it tagged and got shocked, then it’s my fault. I’m responsible for preventing shocks and class ‘C’ fires.”

“We will never give up, we will never lie down to a fight at hand, we will adapt and overcome.” -HT3 Cole French Hull Maintenance Technician (HT)

HT’s do the metal work necessary to keep all types of shipboard structures and surfaces in good condition. They also maintain plumbing and marine sanitation systems. According to Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Cole French, being an HT means knowing many different skills. “You have to know how to be a plumber, a welder and even the

Photo by MC3 Alexandra Arroyo

administration side of the house,” French said. “You are always thinking outside of the box, and thinking fast and diligently.” HT’s work very close together and that togetherness helps keep their morale going. When the ship is underway and they don’t have the resources they do while in port, HT’s find ways to make things work, even if it means turning what would have been a 30-minute job into a two-day event. “We will never give up, we will never lie down to a fight at hand, we will adapt and overcome,” said French. “The only easy day was yesterday.”

Engineman (EN)

Aboard ship, Enginemen do a variety of specialized work to make life easier for Sailors. Enginemen are also in charge of diesel for small engines, maintenance on the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB), galley equipment, laundry washers and dryers, steam and heat, air conditioning units, Self Contained Air Compressors (SCAC) and all air conditioning ventilation throughout the ship. A lot to learn for any new EN checking aboard. “For every new EN coming aboard, we do on-the-job training from qualified personnel,” said Chief Engineman Manuel Jamosmos. “In our trade, every EN must learn hands-on because each ship and command is different.”

Department in the Spotlight: Engineering

Photo by MC3 Fidel C. Hart

Photo by MCSN James Norman

Machinery Repairman (MR)

Photo by MC1 Josh Huebner

Photo by MC3 Fidel C. Hart

Machinery Repairmen are skilled machine tool operators. They make replacement parts and repair or overhaul ship’s engines and auxiliary systems. On a normal day, MR’s perform preventive maintenance to keep the milling machines, lathe and bandsaw up. With only two MR’s aboard, it can be a lot of work, but the job gets done. “We make the parts to keep the ship moving to continue its mission,” said Machinery Repairman 2nd Class John Ray.

Machinist’s Mate (MM)

Machinist’s Mates operate and maintain steam turbines and reduction gears used for ship propulsion and auxiliary machinery such as generators, pumps and oil purifiers. The fresh water that Sailors use to drink and wash with is maintained by MM’s, along with turning steam into electricity. All this work is done down below, unseen by most Sailors. “Machinist’s Mates are always down below, standing watch and keeping the ship moving,” said Master Chief Machinist’s Mate Gilfredo Belantes, Engineering Department division leading chief petty officer. Engineering departments may not often be the most visible, and they’re not as recognized, but when the ship is moving, water is running and lights are on, you know that their job is being done.

Photo by MC2 Steven Khor

Corpsman to ensign, Sailor achieves a dream Blue Ridge Patient Care Leading Petty Officer earns commissioning for Medical Service Corps Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Brian A. Stone Photographs by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Fidel C. Hart Shannon Jackson, once a Hospital Corpsman 1st class, was commissioned as a Medical Service Corps officer following an April 2nd ceremony aboard 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). Jackson described the day she received a phone call from the Medical Officer, Cmdr. Robert Reuer, and the Medical Department Leading Chief Petty Officer, Hospital Corpsman Senior Chief Connie Lawson, to announce her application for commissioning was approved. “I was at home with my kids and my husband, playing video games, when I got a phone call from Cdr. Reuer. I told my kids ‘Mommy won a golden ticket! We’re going to the chocolate factory!” said Jackson. She said her two young children were screaming in excitement. Then she told them they’re not really going to the

chocolate factory, but that their mommy got commissioned. “They don’t get it. They still think they’re going to the chocolate factory,” she said. Cmdr. Robert Reuer, ship’s Medical Officer, said the experience was memorable for him as well. “She asked me if I was kidding at first, but then Senior Chief Lawson told her that her package had really come through,” he said. Reuer said he knew Jackson was stressed about the commissioning ceremony, but he wasn’t worried about it. “It’s just an oath for her to continue doing her best,” Reuer said with confidence. Jackson said she was mulling over all kinds of new things once she was commissioned. One of those is when she receives a salute for the first time. “It’s going to be really strange when I get

Sailor awarded for volunteer service

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Fidel C. Hart A shipmate aboard Blue Ridge (LCC Naval Submarine Base New London from 19) was awarded the Military Outstanding February 2009 to February 2011. Over 100 Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM) hours of her personal time were contributed during Captain’s Call on the mess decks to helping people learn English as a second April 2. language. Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Melina The MOVSM recognizes service members Knight received her award certificate and who perform substantial volunteer service to medal by Capt. Rudy Lupton, Blue Ridge the local community above and beyond their commanding officer. required duties. The definition of volunteer Knight earned the MOVSM for her is left intentionally vague, allowing members community service throughout her tour at to volunteer for a wide variety of activities.

saluted for the first time,” Jackson said, staring up at the ceiling imagining the scene. “But I also think it will be a very proud moment for me.” Jackson said she already has goals for the future as a medical corps officer specializing in healthcare administration. She said she wants to continue the kind of patient-centered care already provided on Blue Ridge and focus on improving healthcare access and delivery for patients. “What I want to provide as an officer is really just a continuation of what I already do as a corpsman,” Jackson said. Reuer agreed, saying, “I think she’s very deserving, so I’m glad she got picked up for the commissioning. Whether she runs a clinic or department, or is in charge of patient administration at a hospital, she’ll do well.”

NAVY and MARINE CORPS ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL The NAM may be awarded to members of the Armed Forces in the grades of lieutenant commander and below. It is awarded for meritorious service or achievement in either combat or noncombat based on sustained performance or specific achievement of a superlative nature. Congratulations to the Sailors below for earning their NAMs. Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW) Maurice Boston for

extensive knowledge of UNIX based software and hardware that directly contributed to a cost avoidance of $35,000 by resolving over 100 trouble calls.

Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class (SW) Steve Sebu for his

preventive maintenance work on more than 30 water tight doors during the ship’s period in dry dock.

Qualified as Enlisted Surface Warface Specialists Top, from left to right: Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class (SW) Maung Zeya; Information Systems Technician 3rd Class (SW) Andrew Bankey; Culinary Specialist Seaman (SW) Kevin Wafford; and Crytologic Technician (Collection) Seaman (SW) Arlene Surun.

Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW) Lekiesha Golden

for devoting 612 hours of troubleshooting of two extremely high frequency systems. Golden also devoted 170 hours as a SAVI advocate. Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Jason Hunsicker for solving 600

trouble calls and performing 2,000 hours of preventive maintenance. Hunsicker also provided “flawless” public address support.

Surface Warfare Officers

Top, from left to right: Ensign Terence Gilbert; Lt. WilliamJames McEnerny; Ensign Jaime Howe; Ensign Chelsea Hassett; and Ensign Matthew Harmon. Congratulations on qualifying as surface warface officers!

Which Sailors in your division have earned a BZ?

Send us an email! or

Bravo Zulu from Capt. Rudy Lupton, commanding officer, to the Yeomen and Personnel Specialists in the X-1 division of Administration Department. In recognizing X-1 for the work they did to assist Sailors and their families during the volunteer evacuation from Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Lupton said, “Your tremendous effort working the paperwork for the authorized departure. You streamlined the process significantly and eased the burden for those working on the issue ashore. Well done and many thanks!”

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Ship Notes & Navy News

ULTRA assessment slated By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Pineda

For some Sailors stationed aboard USS Blue Ridge, there’s a mysterious word being spoken in the passageways. This word is ULTRA E, and by itself doesn’t give you much to work with when trying to figure out its meaning. Let’s delve into it and figure it out. ULTRA E is actually the acronym for Unit Level Training Assessment, Engineering. It’s an assessment performed by Afloat Training Group, Yokosuka, and takes place every two years. ATG primarily focuses on engineering, making sure that its propulsion and engineering department are capable of supporting the ship’s mission. The ship is awarded an ULTRA E certification once the ship passes the assessment and demonstrates its capability to perform at the required level. ATG Yokosuka, ULTRA E Assessor, Senior Chief Machinist Mate (SW/AW) James Bailey explains how even though the certification is geared toward the engineering department, the program is an all-hands evolution. “Safety is paramount,” said Bailey. “When we’re onboard a ship we’re paying attention to things like people sliding down hand rails, not wearing hearing protection, and electrical safety. iPods, or iPhones and laptops that haven’t been electrical safety checked can make a ship

What it is and what to expect

Photo by MC2 Daniel Viramontes

fail it’s electrical safety program,” said Bailey. The assessors are not just looking for common violations on the deck plates; they have training teams under the microscope. “We’re paying attention to what’s happening during a ship’s training drills, especially during main space fire drills. Observing how they run the drill, making sure that fire boundaries are set, that people have the proper gear they need and that they’re wearing it correctly,” said Bailey. Bailey commented on one of the more frequent mistakes ship’s company can make in this area.

“Fire boundaries are very important. Once a fire a boundary is set it’s important that people are not walking through them.” Blue Ridge Sailors can expect to see personnel from ATG sometimes engaging them with questions about operating procedures within specific work center and standing watch. “Along with checking things visually, we also ask crew members about certain areas of their job and assess their knowledge when they’re on watch. We check to see if watch standers can perform coordinated and immediate actions,” said Bailey.

Service members to receive full mid-month pay By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON (NNS) ­— All service members will receive their full mid-month pay they have earned in their April 15th paychecks, Pentagon officials said April 11. “Basically, all active duty and reserve service members will receive full mid-month pay on the 15th of April,” Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. Dave Lapan said. “It may be in two separate payments, but on the 15th everyone

will receive their full allotted pay.” Confusion arose about the April 15 payday due to

Photo by MC2 Daniel Viramontes

the threatened closure of the U.S. government last week. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service had

posted “net pay advice” to some service members. “Those net pay advice statements were made … before we knew there was an agreement to fund the government,” Lapan said. “When those were posted they only showed partial payments, but again, everyone will receive their full pay on the 15th for the duty served and it may be in more than one deposit.” Officials urge service members to check month end leave and earnings statements carefully. The

normal statements will post to accounts April 22. Finance and accounting service has restored access to all leave and earnings statements, net pay advice or advice of pay for service members on Mypay. “The most-current advice of pay will still only show the partial payments for April 1-8,” the finance service posted on its website. “This will allow us to make sure we can still process pay for April 9-15 and take steps to ensure it is in bank accounts on the 15th.”

Blue Ridge Newsletter Issue 5  

Engineers are center stage in Issue 5 of the Blue Ridge Newsletter

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