It is now Monday evening. We were just visited by a USO show this past Saturday, some band called “The Scarlet Ending”. They were from up near Syracuse, New York. They played onboard here on the 9th of October. The ship cleared off Hangar Bay 2 and sent up a little stage on top of some flat bed skids. What they played and how they sound I don’t know. I was too busy finishing up an inspection with my new Maintenance Officer and new Division officers for a program that I am the manager for. I was all of a sudden thinking of some old picture from world war 2 that showed a movie being shown on some Essex class carrier meanwhile in the foreground showed maintenance personnel finishing up maintenance on the next day’s strike package at the same time and in the background show ordnance folks uploading bombs and torpedoes in the birds. Anyhow, I spent that day going around to all the different workspaces on the ship with these officers and counting 426 different items for a program that I run.
That program is referred to as the Aviation Maintenance Material Listing, AMMRL, program. This program basically runs all the support equipment that is required for the operation, maintenance, and upkeep of Naval Aviation. The biggest issue with the program is keeping proper accounting for all the items and keeping the paperwork straight. What is funny is how some items that I run across can be so cheap and others that look cheap are so expensive. A number of times it is because they are “one of” items that are only manufactured for a specific airplane or usage and bought in such low quantities that they become so expensive. The other times there is only one manufacturer and they aren’t able to keep up with demand.
Like I said the biggest thing with the program is keeping track of everything. So that means at a minimum of once a year going around and physically inventorying everything. Think of it this way, take your house. Go into each room and take an accounting of everything that isn’t nailed down to the floor or walls. Then do it again twelve months later physically verifying that you have a the Sleep-Rock Mattress serial number: ABC123 in the master bedroom. That you have the oak table in the dining room with serial number : XYZ098. It is loads of fun going around asking what an item is, where it is, and then verifying all the relative data. It needs to be done though because if you don’t have something then you need to file paperwork saying you lost it. Doing this, called a survey, basically tells the world that you lost this thousand plus dollar item. Do enough of them and it isn’t cool to the higher authority. However, if you have your paperwork straight then it may not be completely your fault and it is actually someone else’s fault. The paperwork is something else that is fun. For every mistake made in the initial form there is four different forms that are required to fix them. Loads of fun. 🙂
We started the inventory at 1030 in the morning and it was on a no-fly day. We finished up three of the four maintenance divisions between 1030 and 1300 that day and wasn’t able to get to the last division until 1900 that night. Once we counted everything I had to sit back and prepare a message and a memo that was going to be routed up the chain of command which basically said we were done with our annual wall to wall, found everything and it is all hunky dory. I don’t think I got done for the night until 2300 that night.
Entertainment out here is brought by a number of things out here. First off every USN unit has an MWR unit. An MWR unit on a carrier has a number of things in their store rooms. Such things as game boxes, where they would use to schedule game tournaments between people or groups. Such as Rock Band or Guitar Hero Contests. Other times they will schedule card game tourneys for such things as hearts, spades, euchre. They also have board games and I have seen schedule tourneys for Acey Ducey, Backgammon, Chess, Checkers, etc.
We also have TV to watch it being supplied via a cable service that is a portion of the Armed Forces Radio Television Service. We also have a slew of different movies go out with us they show. At times though the movies they show us get so repetitive that at times we will sit in the berthing with no volume and we are making up our own lines while watching a movie. Like I said in an earlier post card, after being out for a while. Practical jokes becomes the the de gurre for keeping our spirits up.
Another thing is the USO brings comedians, bands, and various live entertainment to us. These are a variety of different people. All from headliners like Toby Keith to bands that are on the way up like “The Scarlet Ending”. The USO does such an awesome job at trying to provide some form of entertainment to us. From setting up places for us to relax at while overseas to providing places at the airports they give us entertainment. I can’t really say enough about the USO and would recommend to your readers find some time to donate their time or money to the USO.
On our days off out here, which are no fly days. It isn’t truly a day off. We may not be flying but air wing is always working and the ship’s company isn’t. That is one of those bum deals that comes from being part of the primary weapon system of the ship. The only days off that the air wing gets is when we hit port. Primarily because that is when we aren’t flying and depending on whether it is a liberty port or a maintenance port, most of the maintenance folks are using the time off in port to catch up on paperwork, training, or work in the shop that there never seems to be enough time to do while we are flying hard. So even us airdale maintenance folks miss out on these events. Again not really a problem just one of those things you have to accept as part of our jobs.
That is about it going on around us right now. If any of your readers want to know or have specific thoughts about life out here. I would be willing to answer them. Just shoot me an email with the questions and I will try and answer them to the best of my ability.