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USS Gerald R. Ford Perfects Sustainability at Sea with First Vertical Replenishment


After 14 days at sea conducting flight operations and multiple certifications, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completed its first vertical replenishment (VERTREP) with MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters, attached to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 while alongside USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO-188) in the Atlantic Ocean, March 24.


USS Gerald R. Ford Perfects Sustainability at Sea with First Vertical Replenishment 925 001 USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) pulls alongside USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188) for a replenishment-at-sea March 24, 2020 (Picture source: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brett Walker))


Ford is executing an 18-month phase of operations known as Post-Delivery Test and Trials (PDT&T) to ensure her overall deployment reediness. Cmdr. Carl Koch, Ford’s supply officer, explained that by accomplishing this task, Ford is one step closer to being fully mission ready.

“Exercising and proving our ability to conduct simultaneous fueling and replenishment-at-sea increases the ship's flexibility to respond to mission requirements as it minimizes our required time alongside a supply ship,” said Koch.


USS Gerald R. Ford Perfects Sustainability at Sea with First Vertical Replenishment 925 002MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters, attached to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9, conduct a vertical replenishment-at-sea from the USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188) to the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) (Picture source: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Melvin)


Master Chief Logistics Specialist Sunshine Ridgeway, Ford’s S-6 division leading chief petty officer, shares a mutual feeling with Koch of the ship being independent at sea.

“By conducting these types of evolutions, we are able to keep the ship at sea for longer periods of time, which in turn allows us to maintain our focus on our current mission of qualifying pilots to support the fleet,” said Ridgeway.


USS Gerald R. Ford Perfects Sustainability at Sea with First Vertical Replenishment 925 003MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters, attached to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9, conduct a vertical replenishment-at-sea from the USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188) to the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) (Picture source: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Melvin)


Ford completed the VERTREP of 77 pallets of food and other dried goods in just over four and a half hours.

Koch explained that this type of evolution takes effort from Sailors from multiple departments all working together and training each other to complete the task.

Gerald R. Ford is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new aircraft carrier designed in more than 40 years. Ford is underway conducting carrier qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean.