The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) conducted an underway replenishment (UNREP) with the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Gulf of Oman for the first time during their deployment, Dec. 15.
UNREP is the Navy’s preferred method to transfer fuel and stores between ships and is typically conducted with a United States Naval Service (USNS) supply ship designed solely for that purpose. This was Decatur’s first time coming alongside an aircraft carrier during this deployment to receive fuel. Decatur demonstrated excellent ship-handling while taking station at a distance of less than 160 feet from the aircraft carrier.
“It was a great day to be a SWO [Surface Warfare Officer],” said Lt. Clinton Cabe, the conn coach for the approach. “Often, you do not receive the chance to UNREP with one of the Navy’s greatest assets.”
Not only did Decatur receive the unique opportunity to conduct an UNREP with a carrier, but the crew also had the opportunity to watch Stennis conduct flight operations. Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Zachary Wallace expressed his awe for the launch and recovery of aircraft.
“I have conducted many exercises with a carrier, but carrier flight operations never gets old especially if you are watching from 500 yards away,” said Wallace.
John C. Stennis is the flag ship of Carrier Strike Group 3, which also contains the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), the guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance (DDG 111), the USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), and USS Stockdale (DDG 106).
Other components to the Stennis strike group include Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, embarked aboard John C. Stennis. CVW 9 consists of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133, and Fixed-wing Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 151, VFA-97, VFA-41 and VFA-14.
Decatur is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.
By Ensign Xuan Nguyen, USS Decatur