By MC3 Lorenzo J. Burleson
Public Affairs, USS Gettysburg (CG 64)
Sailors aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) reached 15,000 aircraft in-flight check-ins, Feb. 11.
The milestone signifies the number of aircraft that have checked in with the cruiser since the beginning of its 2013-2014 deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
"15,000 check-ins is another indicator of the amount of hard work our Sailors have put forth this entire deployment," said Lt. Jimmy Drennan, operations officer, USS Gettysburg. "This is a proud moment that I'm thankful to be a part of, and a huge achievement for the entire crew."
An in-flight check in is conducted through communications with U.S. and allied aircraft providing information in support of their mission, said Operations Specialist 1st Class (SW) Antwain McGee.
McGee communicated with the 15,000th check-in which was the pilot of a C-17A supporting missions in Afghanistan, while standing watch as an air intercept controller (AIC) in the combat information center aboard Gettysburg.
"We provide pilots with information including airspace, altitude, bearing and emergency support," said McGee. "Whether they are U.S., British, Air Force or Marine pilots, our job is to communicate the information necessary to help them complete their mission."
McGee said Gettysburg's combat information center began recording the number of in-flight check-ins in August 2013. Many man-hours were put forth to reach the mark.
"The amount of check-ins vary, but on any given day we can support more than one-hundred aircraft," said McGee. "We have reached this point with zero safety advisories which indicates a vigilant watch. We have to remain vigilant on watch throughout the remainder of deployment and provide support where it is needed."
McGee is proud to be a part of the Gettysburg crew during this achievement.
"It's a great feeling to be an AIC, deployed in the 5th fleet AOR and supporting aircraft, because this is what we train for," said McGee. "Having 15,000 check-ins shows how Gettysburg sets the standard of excellence."
Gettysburg is deployed as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.