COLON, Panama (NNS) -- The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) pulled into Colon, Panama, for a brief stop for fuel, supplies and to conduct maintenance and repairs, July 27.
While the ship took on fuel, fresh fruit, vegetables, and mail, engineers worked busily below decks performing maintenance a diesel generator located in an auxiliary room.
"Because of the different geographic locations we visit, some of our seawater coolers get clogged with debris," said Engineman 2nd Class (SW) Zachary White. "So we have to disassemble, clean and reassemble the air box to provide sufficient seawater flow to cool the generator."
Maintaining seawater flow to the air box ensures the diesel generator can operate, providing electricity to the ship and crew.
"Cleaning it out increases the heat transfer to sea water from the hot air that comes through the generator," said Engineman 2nd Class (SW) Dray Helms.
"Without seawater flow, the generator could overheat, possibly causing a Class Charlie [electrical] fire or a loss of our number four generator," said White. "It's hard work, but we do our part to keep the engineering plants working. It's just what we do."
The ship received 62 bags of mail as well as supplies during a stores on-load. Additionally, Underwood took on 87,000 gallons of F-76 fuel for the ship and 5,000 gallons of JP-5 diesel fuel for the rigid-hull inflatable boat and the SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the "Vipers" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48.
Underwood is deployed to Central and South America and the Caribbean in support of Southern Seas 2012
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) support USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.