View Full Version : MASON engineering team keeps ship fueled to fight

09-18-2013, 03:38 PM
I was stationed aboard MASON for two years, great ship and I know two of the Sailors mentioned in the story. Great job shipmates!

Mason's Oil Queens Fuel The Fight

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rob Aylward, USS Mason Public Affairs

RED SEA (NNS) -- It is common knowledge that the crew of every Navy ship is composed of officers and enlisted Sailors. What may come as a surprise is that most ships, including guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87), have royalty aboard.

The three royals aboard Mason are actually Sailors with duties befitting their lofty titles. Known as the "Oil Queens", these three female petty officers are responsible for ensuring that the powerful war ship has the fuel it needs to sail, fight and win.

"My oil lab team handles and guarantees the purity of all shipboard fuels and lube oils," said Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Ramona Ross, Mason's oil lab leading petty officer. "We make sure the gas turbine engines have what they need to maneuver the ship, and the generators can consistently power all the ship's electronics."

Mason is powered and driven by four General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines that produce in excess of 100,000 horsepower. Three smaller Allison 501-K34 gas turbine generators provide the ship with enough electricity to operate everything on board from the AN/SPY-1D radar system to the office coffee maker.

In addition to handling the ship's fuel, the oil lab also plays a key role in keeping Mason's two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, assigned to the "Swamp Foxes" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 74), in the air.

"Working with the helicopters is my favorite part of being an oil queen," said Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Anita Preetam. "It's an adrenaline rush to test and pump fuel while such a powerful machine hovers overhead."

"It's satisfying to do something so necessary for the mission," said Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Kristen Nicolas. "The helicopters need me to do my job perfectly. Without the cleanest fuel possible, the helicopters can't perform the way they are designed to perform."

As GSMs, Mason's oil queens also operate, repair and perform intermediate maintenance on the mechanical components of the gas turbine engines and propulsion machinery like gears, shafts and propellers.

"I enjoy working on the jet engines," said Ross. "Coming into the engineering department and performing successfully is proof that we are just as capable as our male counterparts. I'm proud to have helped break the ice for other females in Mason engineering and the Navy."

"Initially, I saw it as a challenge to be able to compete with my male peers," said Nicolas. "The reality is that we work together well. I may have strengths and expertise at times that they don't have and vice versa."

The oil queens understand the value of their contribution to the mission. They work together to remain motivated and mission oriented as Mason continues to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts while on deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

"We have a great support system of mentors that I can go to with personal or technical problems," said Nicolas. "They are always there to listen, provide support and remind me why I'm here."

"My family is a tremendous motivator to me," said Ross. "To my family, I am a hero."

09-18-2013, 05:07 PM
This PAO should be an oil queen also; cause he's pumping pure fluff