Team Effort Shipbuilders and sailors work together to clean CVN 79’s flight deck.

Team Effort

Published December 8, 2020

Shipbuilders and sailors worked together to clean up the flight deck of John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) during the ship’s first-ever foreign object debris (FOD) walk down in November.

During an FOD walk down, crew members walk the flight deck and pick up foreign objects that could pose a safety hazard during flight operations.

“This is an event that is part of our daily routine on an operational aircraft carrier,” said Capt. Todd Marzano, Kennedy’s commanding officer. “We actually do it several times a day to ensure there are no foreign objects on the flight deck because that could ultimately lead to disaster.” While aircraft aren’t taking off from or landing on Kennedy’s flight deck just yet, the walk down was still significant – for safety, ship cleanliness and teambuilding between the Navy and Newport News Shipbuilding.

“We’re working hard to build a real team between us and ship’s force, and this is just another example of something we do as one team,” said Mike Butler, program director for Kennedy. “We’re doing this together. Everybody’s got a bag and we’re all chipping in to make it happen.”

During the walk down, shipbuilders and sailors focused on small debris that weighed less than 5 pounds and could fit easily into bags. There also were areas to discard scrap metal and wood.

Apprentice Craft Instructor Hunter Atkins said the walk down was a great opportunity to show new apprentices the importance of cleanliness during ship construction.

“Having my employees get the chance to listen to the leadership of the Navy and explain the importance of cleanliness meant a lot since we discuss it at shift check every day,” he said. “Having Newport News Shipbuilding and the Navy work together to get flight deck clean and safe is very critical to show how it will take both parties to achieve building CVN 79. We will make sure that we are contributing every chance we get to make the shipyard a cleaner and safer environment for all.”

Navy officials also were pleased with the joint effort.

“Today is a historic event because we’re doing it for the first time,” Marzano said. “It’s very fitting that the first time is a teaming effort between NNS and ship’s force to enhance our culture of cleanliness.”