Nimitz-class aircraft carriers
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), bottom, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), top, transit in formation with the Royal Navy's Invincible-class aircraft carrier
HMS Illustrious (R 06) in the Atlantic Ocean. The carriers are currently participating in Operation Bold Step, bringing together more than 15,000 service members from three countries during a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFX). U.S. Navy photo
by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jay C. Pugh
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Adrian J. Escobar, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs
USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At Sea (NNS) -- The Navigation Department aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Ike, plays a major role in the Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 07-2 “Operation Bold Step,” which began July 26.
Navigation is ultimately responsible for the procurement and maintenance of navigational charts, publications and equipment, providing safe and efficient navigation for piloting the ship.
Since JTFEX began, they have been constantly updating the Voyage Management System (VMS). VMS is the Navy’s newest electronic charting tool. It is also used in assisting with the ship’s location.
“We update the charts so the officers of this ship and surrounding ships are working on the same page
,” said Quartermaster 3rd Class Richard Armstrong. “Each ship has to work in conjunction with each other.”
In addition to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry
S. Truman (CVN 75) teaming with Ike during the exercise, there are ships from other countries in support of the mission, including the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R06).
With numerous ships being involved, each of the ships’ Navigation Departments makes certain their charts are updated with the same operating and tactical areas. Without synchronization, the possibility of crossing paths increases.
“One of the main concerns is not to cross boundaries,” said Quartermaster 3rd Class (SW) Kendra Rightsell. “In order to prevent crossing boundaries, Ike must utilize the correct operating area.”
“We are the eyes of the ship,” said Quartermaster Seaman William Gabbert. "Communication with other ships in the area is necessary in ensuring safety, especially during JTFEX, and without the expertise of those in Navigation, that wouldn’t be possible."
Ike is currently underway conducting JTFEX 07-2 with Truman. JTFEX 07-2 is scheduled to last until July 31 off the coast of North Carolina and Florida.