Engineering Department in the Spotlight

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman A. O. Tinubu,
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs

Beneath the waterline of the ship, Sailors toil in an inferno of noise and heat. Their coveralls cling to them, sticky with sweat, in sharp contrast to the cool, crisp attire of their shipmates on the flight deck above. No breeze relieves them; no sunlight touches them. Nevertheless, they labor on, determined and hardened to their purpose.

The Engineering department consists of approximately 300 Sailors from various rates, including machinist’s mates, machinery repairmen, damage controlmen, electrician’s mates, hull maintenance technicians and yeomen.

These rates band together to maintain the ship- safely departing Norfolk was only the first task on the agenda. Engineering department continues to support every aspect of the ship as Truman conducts its overseas mission.

“Teamwork plays a large role in daily work in Engineering department,” said Master Chief Machinist’s Mate W. Ponder. “The wealth of knowledge between all our rates is immense, and with that knowledge we’re able to tackle any problem that may occur.”

When required parts for machines are not readily accessible, machinery repairmen are available to make them. The department provides a machine shop where these components are constructed.

Electrician’s mates receive trouble calls to make repairs throughout. Their tasks range from electrical safety checks on personal equipment to removing exposed wires.

“We believe in working as a team to get to get the job done,” said Electrician’s mate Fireman N. Williams. “We all look out for one another. We make it a habit to work in pairs.”

Hull maintenance technicians repair ruptured pipes and sewage pipes and conduct sheet metal work and welding.

“Plumbing may be overlooked as a minor problem, but it can be detrimental to the health and comfort of the entire ship if it isn’t taken seriously,” said Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class C. Carbonetto. “I love knowing what I do everyday will eventually help thousands of people.”

Flying Squad is the ship’s primary casualty response team. Consisting of mostly Engineering department Sailors, Flying Squad fights fires, responds to toxic gas leaks, controls flooding, and stands ready at a moment’s notice to combat any other damage control casualties that could arise aboard the ship.

Damage controlmen are responsible for damage control equipment aboard Truman. To ensure the participation of all hands if any damage control casualties occur, damage controlmen conduct training with the crew, from Basic DC at Damage Control University, to Advanced DC, and Damage Control Petty Officer Training.

“Teamwork is huge because when we’re called away for casualties we have to be able to trust each other,” said Damage Controlmen 3rd Class M. Treadway. “We need to have confidence that all of our shipmates know what to do in the face of an emergency. Teamwork and training go hand in hand as a damage controlmen.”

Aboard an aircraft carrier where maintenance may seem like an endless task, preserving the material condition of the ship is an all hands evolution.

To support this, Engineering department Sailors regularly conduct Maintenance and Material Management training for those seeking their initial maintenance qualification, or seeking work center supervisor qualifications.

3M Training is designed to provide ships and applicable shore stations with a simple and standard means for planning, scheduling and performing maintenance on all shipboard systems and equipment. The primary objective of 3M is to manage shipboard maintenance in a manner that will ensure maximum equipment and system operational readiness.

“It’s very hard to perform maintenance on an aircraft carrier,” said Cmdr. B. Drennan, Truman Chief Engineer. “There’s so much to be done and a great deal of responsibility that goes along with being in Engineering.”

At this stage in the deployment, Truman has suffered no major equipment casualties thanks to the combined skill and knowledge of Sailors in Engineering department, said Drennan.

“As the head of the department it gives me great satisfaction to know that the Sailors in Engineering can do anything and fix anything aboard the ship,” said Drennan. “I’ve always loved being an Engineer in the Navy, but this is probably the best engineering department I’ve ever worked in.”

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