USS Harry S. Truman’s METOC Hosts Two RN Sailors for Training

USS Harry S. Truman's METOC Hosts Two RN Sailors for Training

Operations department’s OA meteorology and oceanography (METOC) division aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) is hosting two Royal Navy Sailors for training, who embarked Sept. 30.

Lt. Anna Townsend, from Wales, and Leading Seaman Paul Allen, from Newcastle, England, are embarked aboard Truman through a Secretary of Defense initiative that seeks to ensure long-term cooperation between U.S. and United Kingdom military forces and will help the U.K. prepare Sailors to operate its future aircraft carriers.

“They are the first in a line of many U.K. embarks on board U.S. carriers,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Gipson, OA’s division officer. “Townsend and Allen have been integrated as members of OA division and Truman’s Strike Group Oceanography Team (SGOT). They will learn aspects of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10 METOC and will experience life aboard a carrier first-hand.”

According to Townsend, the U.K. does not currently operate any ships with the capabilities to launch fixed-wing aircraft. She said that by 2018, the U.K. is scheduled to have two aircraft carriers commissioned with capabilities to launch F-35B Lightning II vertical takeoff and landing fighter jets.

“When our carriers are ready, we will have Sailors who are experienced with their operation through programs such as this one,” said Townsend. “It’s brilliant to be here. We have learned so much about Truman and its operation.”

Townsend said she is being trained to fill the role of assistant division officer as Allen undergoes training as a METOC forecaster.

“Working with Truman Sailors has given me a whole new perspective and a great deal of insight into how aviation forecasting is done on a larger ship,” said Allen. “Truman’s Sailors have done a great job showing me all of the systems, many of which I wasn’t familiar with.”

Townsend said her goals are to have a good understanding of how METOC operates aboard a carrier, have working knowledge of how the bridge and flight deck operate together and how Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22 and CSG-10 staffs integrate with Truman’s Sailors.

Both Townsend and Allen agree that life aboard Truman has been very different from their experiences aboard British ships.

“On a British warship, the berthings are much more restrictive and eating arrangements are very different from those aboard Truman,” said Allen. “I’m used to a smaller ship’s company for one, and our ships don’t use frame numbers for [shipboard transit] like U.S. ships. Getting around Truman can be a bit confusing. Sometimes I wish I had a ball of string in my pocket.”

Though Allen plans to retire in two years, Townsend said she hopes to serve aboard one of the U.K.’s carriers as its METOC officer.

“If I can achieve my goal and become a member of one of the new carrier’s crew, my experience aboard Truman will directly translate to how I will run the department,” said Townsend.

Townsend said she feels privileged to interact with Truman Sailors while she and Allen are embarked.

“The teamwork between our navies has been outstanding,” said Townsend. “I look forward to building the same cooperation between our Sailors.”

Naval Today Staff, October 11, 2012; Image: US Navy