Friday, December 28, 2007

Kearsarge Achieves 1,000th Aircraft Deployed Approach

USS KEARSARGE, At Sea (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) completed its 1,000th aircraft approach setting a new record during the current deployment for Kearsarge and large deck amphibious ships in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

The previous record for Kearsarge was 765 approaches, while the U.S. Atlantic Fleet record was at 910.

"This is a tremendous milestone for the Sailors and Marines of Kearsarge," said Capt. James Gregorski, commanding officer, Kearsarge. "Dedicated Sailors on board are committed to bringing back all aircraft launched safely and professionally. Whether they conduct one or a thousand approaches, safety is always top priority."

Air traffic controllers from the Kearsarge Amphibious Air Traffic Control Center, along with Sailors and Marines from Air Department, C5I, and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit's Air Command Element, demonstrated outstanding team work to ensure all approaches and landings were achieved with no damage to equipment or injury to personnel.

"Nothing is done out here alone. Without the help of C5I department keeping our gear up and the air command element's aggressive flight schedule, none of this could have been possible," said Lt.j.g. Chad Hunsucker, the air traffic control officer. "From the guys on the flight deck, aircraft maintainers, and the controllers on board, we all came together on a daily basis to complete the mission at hand."

During approaches, Sailors from Kearsarge Amphibious Air Traffic Control Center are responsible for ensuring proper spacing and sequencing of air traffic. During the terminal phase of flight, a radar final controller uses precision approach radar to provide decent and course guidance to the aircraft pilot.

Across the board, the Sailors onboard Kearsarge express pride in setting this record without casualties to personnel or equipment. They approached every dangerous evolution with superior professionalism and attention to detail.

Kearsarge is the flagship of the Kearsarge Strike Group on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations.