Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Aircraft Carrier Completes Maintenance; Returns to Bremerton

ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returned to Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton March 28, after completing a five day at sea period that marked the end of a successful, but extensive, maintenance period.

On March 27, the crew of the 90,000-ton nuclear powered aircraft carrier completed its final assessment of the ship's material readiness, officially ending a six month major maintenance period.

Stennis departed Bremerton March 24, commencing the five day at sea period called Sea Trials. The crew immediately began assessing the ship's installations and repairs, and inspected and validated the work conducted during the maintenance period, officially called docking planned incremental availability (DPIA).

"The crew of John C. Stennis, teamed up with the super professionals of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, just completed the most intensive maintenance project I have ever seen," said Stennis Commanding Officer, Capt. Brad Johanson. "Over the past six months, this ship has completed $240 million in upgrades and maintenance work. We have new combat systems upgrades, new electronic throttle controls, new arresting gear safety control systems and an extensive suite of new aviation electronic support systems designed to provide maintenance for the new MH-60 helicopters."

This underway period is the first time the carrier has been operational since entering Puget Sound Naval Shipyard drydock on Sept. 28, after the Stennis and crew returned from a seven-and-half-month deployment to the Middle East on August 31. Stennis and its air wing provided support to troops on the ground in Afghanistan and flew missions in support of ground forces in Iraq.

Also returning to the ship was Carrier Strike Group 3 (CSG-3). This is the first time the strike group commander, Rear Adm. M. Stewart O'Bryan, has embarked Stennis since he took command in September. Stennis is the flagship for O'Bryan and CSG-3.

"I was pleased with the success of not only the Sea Trials but the tremendous accomplishment of the entire DPIA," said O'Bryan.

After finishing the intense Sea Trials, the crew will now focus on preparing for the ship's training cycle and operational proficiency in preparation for a deployment in 2009.

"It's great to have the ship back and operational!" said Johanson. "We will now focus our energy and efforts on increasing our combat proficiency and overall operational capability."

During Sea Trails, the crew conducted a series of tests and evaluations on the work that was done during DPIA. While the ship was in drydock, shipyard workers, contractors and about 600 Stennis Sailors renovated drinking water tanks, main engineering spaces, aircraft support equipment, combat and self-defense systems, and berthing spaces.

As Stennis returns to Bremerton, over 411,000 man-hours of work has been completed. The ship's forces painted 650 spaces and re-tiled 215 decks. They also cleaned out 295 vents, removed and refurbished about 200 watertight doors and completed 400 lagging (wrapping insulation around pipes) jobs.