DVIDS – News – Ready for shock, father-son shares shock study experience 34 years apart


There are 34 years between the current US aircraft carrier undergoing Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST), USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), and the last aircraft carrier to complete FSST, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). For two sailors, a father and a son, the same number of years separate a shared shock experience.

Aviation Maintenance Administrationman (AZ) 1st Class (Retired) Gary Campbell Sr. of Marcellus, New York, served on Roosevelt as Sergeant 2nd, from San Diego, Calif., Serves on Ford during her FSST in 1987.

Campbell Sr. witnessed four planned explosive events on Roosevelt, the fourth Nimitz-class carrier, and Campbell Jr. witnessed only the first two of three planned explosions on the first-in-class Ford. Both agree that shock attempts are difficult to gauge until a person experiences that initial shock.

“The first sounded like a shotgun right behind my head, even though it was hundreds of meters in the water,” said Campbell Jr. “It felt like it was right here, right behind my head.”

Other than the father-son line, the Campbells are not direct generation sailors, but they do have several family members who have served in the Navy, including during World War II and in Vietnam. Campbell Sr. said he always felt that two of his sons were destined for military service.

“For Gary and our second son Matthew, we knew pretty early on that they were going to join the Navy,” Campbell Sr. told the Admiral) program. The rest is history, as they say. “

Father and son served in different eras, in different areas of their ships, and at different times in their careers, but as sailors had to do, each did his or her part with his shipmates, depending on him. Campbell Sr. was a hose man for Repair Locker 6/7 with seven years of active service during the FSST, standing ready to fight any fire that ignited after each shot. Campbell Jr. is the shock testing department coordinator for the Reactor Department with nearly 20 years of service, planning procedures for pre- and post-shock maintenance and testing, and ensuring the proper monitoring and recording of equipment parameters before and after the shock.

Both agree that actually experiencing the sound and intensity of shock can open the crew’s eyes, but also result in a professional response based on the training and expertise of a seasoned war fighter.

“The situation determines the response,” said Campbell Sr. “When sailors experience real events, they really show their severity.”

“They [Reactor department watch standers] did a great job! ”adds Campbell Jr. I couldn’t imagine it going any better than it was going. They step and do their job and I am very impressed with their performance. “

Campbell Sr. said it was not until he came across some news articles and accounts of the historical significance of Ford’s shock trials that he began to ponder the significance of his shared experience and that of his son.

“It didn’t really catch on until I saw some articles that said Ford would be the first airline to do this [FSST] since Roosevelt. So I thought, ‘oh, wow, interesting! – I hope Gary likes it. ‘”

The importance of Ford’s shock attempts is not lost either.

“We know a lot of bright people are putting a lot of ideas into this ship … the basic design is solid. It’s great to see that the ship is functional not only for us, but also for everyone else out there, “said Campbell Jr. What we have to do with this class of ship is pretty exciting.”

For sailors, navigating an unsafe, potentially dangerous operation like FSST can be fun, and requires focused training and hard work at the same time.

“It was great fun seeing the ship respond,” said Campbell Jr. “But what I’m most proud of is the reaction of the sailors. You worked really hard and did a great job! To see the guards carry out their actions; They are taking the right action as they have been taught and the equipment has responded very well. “

Each shock that is approaching the ship has its own sound, its own feeling and its own effect. Campbell Jr. said he didn’t notice much of a difference between shock one and two at Ford while the experience of Roosevelt’s last shot was remembered by Campbell Sr.

“The two recordings were pretty much the same,” said Campbell Jr. “The sound was about the same, but we were better prepared for it. The shockwave didn’t feel much different, but the way things reacted was pretty clear that it was more intense. I’m curious how this third one will feel as this is the maximum shot. “

“That fourth shot was a sucker! It felt like the ship was rising out of the water and sinking again as the explosion subsided, ”added Campbell Sr.

Both sailors said they are proud to be a part of naval history and believe that everyone involved will have something unforgettable to look back on.

“You’re really going to have something to look back on someday,” said Campbell Sr. we did the first. ‘ It feels good that we have put this together. “

“To know that we are the one generation of sailors who can do this, and to do so in this class is pretty exciting,” added Campbell Jr.

As Ford prepared for the final shock of their shock attempts, Campbell Sr. shared his advice.

“If they tell you to prepare for shock, you are prepared for shock,” said Campbell Sr. “Be prepared for anything. It’s getting closer; it will get a lot louder and it will tremble a lot more. You never know how people will react; The ship will answer. Expect the worst and hope the best. “

Campbell Jr. had his own advice and encouragement for the Ford crew.

“If back to your training. All the ship does is survive a moment like this, “said Campbell Jr.” This crew did amazing things; keep doing what you did You may not know, but you are ready. “

Ford prepares for the final explosive event of the FSST. The U.S. Navy is conducting shock tests on new ship designs using high explosives to confirm that our warships can continue to meet the demanding mission requirements in the harsh conditions they might encounter in battle.

For more news from USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), please visit www.dvidshub.net/unit/CVN78

Recording date: March 8th, 2021
Release Date: 03/08/2021 3:26 PM
Story ID: 402364
Location: NORFOLK, VA, USA
Hometown: SAN DIEGO, CA, USA

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