August 2, 2007:
U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier carries about half a billion dollars worth of
munitions. These are stored in 32 magazines, most of them deep inside the ship.
Before being hoisted to the deck, to be mounted on aircraft, the bombs have to
be assembled. This involves inserting the right fuze, or adding a guidance kit
(to turn a dumb bomb into a smart bomb.) Missiles, being rather complex
electronic instruments, have to be checked to make sure they are still ready to
work. The sailors doing all this are about 110 Ordnance Handlers. While there
are missile technicians to deal with electronic manufacturers, the "Ordies"
have to deal with increasingly complex bombs, and handling equipment. Attaching
the smart bomb guidance kits to dumb bombs has become a major part of their
job. With the addition of more motorized bomb handling equipment, the job
basically requires more brains, and attention to detail, than brawn these days.