Sailors save lives

This article recently appeared at and describes the efforts on board the USS Enterprise to keep the deck FOD free.

USS Enterprise CVN-65

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Jared M. King, USS Enterprise Public Affairs:

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) — The crew of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is working to prevent foreign object damage to aircraft while underway, preparing for its 21st deployment.

Twice daily, all hands are invited to participate in a foreign object debris (FOD) walk-down, to clear the hangar bay and flight deck of any hazardous material.

FOD is most commonly introduced to the flight deck and hangar bay by loose or damaged equipment; Sailors who have things fall out of their pockets; and non-skid chunks produced from the natural erosion caused by flight deck operations.

“Carelessness plays only a small factor. FOD is mainly caused from equipment and normal wear and tear,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class (AW/SW) Netrick B. Hayes, Air department’s V-1 division leading petty officer.

Keeping the flight deck and hangar bay FOD-free is a top priority before flight operations.

“FOD can cause millions of dollars in damage throughout the life of an aircraft,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class (AW/SW) Mark Torres, Air department’s V-1 division assistant leading petty officer. “Whether it’s a piece of metal flying into the intake of an engine or an aircraft slipping on liquid FOD, it causes more than just monetary damage, it also contributes to the loss of productivity and [can] cause serious injuries.”

The aircraft’s intake has the ability to turn FOD into a projectile on the flight deck, potentially injuring personnel.

“It is preached and enforced to remove loose articles, or ‘de-FOD’ yourself, prior to coming on the flight deck,” said Torres.

The engine of an F/A-18C Hornet costs approximately $1.5 million to replace if damaged by FOD; the F/A-18F Super Hornet engine costs $3.5 million to replace. A Sailor’s life is irreplaceable.

Enterprise continues its effort to reduce FOD to achieve mission readiness. By adhering to this key element of procedural compliance, hangar bay and flight deck personnel are helping to prevent aircraft damage and FOD-related injuries.

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