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Switching Fish

Posted on 08 Mar 2022 @ 11:43am by Lieutenant Commander Elizabeth Watts & Lieutenant John Williams & Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kemo Paahao & Petty Officer First Class Rebecca Robinson & Lieutenant (N) Rhys Finch

Episode: E1: A Historic Voyage
Location: USS Arizona, Various
Timeline: Date 2025-04-14 at 0730

At 0730 the Weapons Officer was notified by the gangway watch that the weapons delivery had arrived with personnel from the base's weapons storage facility to begin offloading the live ordinance and loading the training ordinance that would be replacing it for Operation Nautilus. The working day had begun about thirty minutes ago with the full crew aboard each week day from 0700-1530 and then just the required watch standers other times while they prepared to get underway the following Monday.

As it stood for the day the DCA, CWO2 Paahao, was assigned as the Duty Officer and the Captain had yet to return, due this morning. The Executive Officer, LCDR Watts, was still acting as CO until he reported back.

As such, Weps was on the pier, meeting with the shore police who were in attendance as armed guards, and the actual ordnance personnel who had custody of the inbound ordnance. Everyone had coffee, Dunkin or Starbucks as they preferred, given the early hours.

"Good morning, everybody. I am supposed to take custody of two Mark 48 ADCAP torpedoes configured as training munitions, two UGM-84L missiles configured as training munitions, and four UGM-109E TLAM missiles configured as training munitions, two from the torpedo-launched and two from the VLS tubes, and turn over custody of two Mark 48 ADCAP torpedoes configured as live torpedoes, alongside two UGM-84L missiles configured as live missiles, and four UGM-109E TLAM missiles configured as live missiles. Please open the transport containers, and let's confirm that's what we actually have."

That was accomplished, and the cargo was indeed confirmed as the expected cargo. Williams noted the serial numbers on his manifest, and signed for the receipt. Then he pulled out a handset to chat with the boat. "Duty Officer, Weps. Request the ship be rigged for ordnance transfer."

Kemo glanced across the way to where WEPS was looking at him from the quay. Keying the handheld, he said, "Wait one, Lieutenant." Then he switched channels keyed the radio and said, "XO, Duty Officer. WEPS confirms the arrival of our new fish. Permission to rig the ship for ordinance transfer?"

There was no immediate response via the radio instead about twenty-five seconds later the XO popped through the hatch into control. There was the usual announcement by the Petty Officer of the Watch that she had entered the control room. She nodded to the watch stander and proceeded toward her duty officer.

"Are the required divisions prepared with all personnel accounted for? Who will be the Officer and Senior Enlisted Advisor responsible for this evolution?" Liz asked, as she approached the DO.

Kemo wasn't all that surprised when he heard the XO's voice. Turning his head, he re-clipped the radio inside of a slash pocket and said, "The divisions have known about this for the past week and everyone should be squared away. WEPS and myself will be supervising the transfer." He reached up, removed his ball cap and ran fingers through his hair before replacing the cover. "All we need is your go, ma'am."

"Who is the senior enlisted person on this?" Liz asked.

"That would be Fire Control Technician Robinson, Ma'am," Kemo answered as his eyes swept over the quay and along Arizona's hull to make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be and no one was where they shouldn't.

"Very well, you have permission to rig ship for weapons transfer. You may authorize the opening of any VLS tubes as needed in addition to rigging the ship for weapons transfer," Liz said, giving the evolution her official blessing.

Kemo pulled a notebook from a pocket and quickly jotted down the time as he waited a few beats to make sure the XO was finished.

I will be monitoring the radio throughout the day and do not intend to leave the boat until end of day. Call me if you need me," the XO said.

"Aye aye, ma'am. Authorization to rig the boat for weapon's transfer, including opening any VLS tubes needed," the Warrant repeated the orders back. "We'll keep you in the loop, as always."

When Liz turned away, Kemo gave WEPS a thumbs up as he grabbed the handset and activated the 1MC. "All hands, all hands. Rig ship for weapon transfer."

Once the call went out over 1MC and the external loudspeakers, Williams spoke over his handset.

"Fire Control, Weps. Let's start with the VLS munitions. Finch, you have control over crane activity. Robinson, confirm when the missiles are ready for the crane and hatches are set for transfer."

"Roger. In control of crane activity," Finch responded through the walkie.

Rebecca had already been preparing for the operation and was topside after prepping things in fire control. She heard the orders over the radio from WEPs. "The missiles are prepared for offloading all safety features have been checked and the VLS hatches are open for transfer." She said as she double checked the missiles and hatches.

"Roger," the WEPS said. "We are proceeding with weapons removal."

From his posting near the main gangway, Kemo routinely ran his eyes over the entirety of Arizona's footprint at the quay, keeping an eye open for safety concerns; and more importantly making sure the scurrying crew did as well. He also made sure that the munitions vehicles were cordoned off with guards posted.

With a few signals between those topside, the WEPS, FCO and the team on the pier the crane began operation to remove the missiles from the submarine.

Meanwhile in the torpedo room the torpedo division was starting to prepare to move the torpedoes and the torpedo launch variant of the tomahawk missile out of their storage shelves and to take on the training rounds. Some of the division members had left to attend to moving the deck plates and setting up what essentially amounted to slides that would lead from the weapons loading hatch topside down into the torpedo room of the submarine. Passageways had to be blocked off with safety tape to keep people from the areas why the Weapons Department worked on all of this. There were even some Sonar Division members lending a hand in monitoring safety in passageways and setting up the pulleys for those interested in observing.

It didn't take long for the phone talker in the torpedo room to announce to the WEPS and the Duty Officer that the ship was rigged to take on weapons to the torpedo room.

The crew began working pulling the torpedoes up the ramps with the pulley systems. It wasn't hard work but it was slow work with how the system was designed.

The whole process took about ninety minutes to remove the two torpedoes and two missiles that were torpedo tube launched. The crews offloaded them from the submarine with the crane and they were placed in the truck. In the meantime the submarine's crews took a breather as they prepared to offload the missiles and torpedoes from the truck to prepare to be placed back on the submarine.

Rebecca had paid so much attention to the job she hadn’t watched the time. The intricate parts of unloading and loading weapons on a sub had long been difficult for most but after a few times doing it. The process was easier for Rebecca and she enjoyed the success.

When the torpedo based missiles and torpedoes were successfully stored within the torpedo room and the pulley system was disconnected and broken down it was a successful operation. Topside the missiles were still going through being placed in their VLS tubes and then would have to be connected to the system and run through a full diagnostic cycle but the biggest safety issues would be resolved once they secured from weapons transfer.

The Weapons Officer and the Torpedo Division worked hard to return all of the deck plating, seal hatches, and secure the ship from the weapons transfer. All of the work was now taking place completely topside and with the VLS Tubes and the consoles on the bridge. LT Finch was in charge on the dorsal side of the submarine and FT1 Robinson at her console with some other technicians present.

About four hours after it started the event began they finally concluded with an announcement from the Petty Officer of the Watch over the 1MC.

"Attention all hands the ship is secured from weapons transfer. All passageways have been reopened all weapons hatches have been sealed. Report any problems to the watch section in the CONN." The watch stander turned around and nodded to the Duty Officer completing his order and then looked over toward the fire control consoles.

Rebecca was running through the diagnostics of the missiles with the other techs working through the many diagnostics with Rebecca overseeing. She was confident in their abilities so she watched. She looked at one of the screens “It looks as though the missiles are ready. All diagnostics were green and have been secured in the tubes.” She grabbed the radio on her side and relayed the message to the WEPS.

"Roger," was the WEPS report. "I'll notify the XO," he said, heading toward her quarters.


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