Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ronald Reagan Ready for Sea After Successful Sea Trials

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Torrey W. Lee, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) pulled into Naval Air Station North Island May 19 after a successful two-day sea trial, which marked the official end to its six-month planned incremental availability (PIA) period.

The sea trial was the final phase of PIA and was conducted to assess the material readiness and ability for the ship to return to the operational fleet.

Ronald Reagan's executive officer, Capt. Ronald Ravelo attributed the success of Ronald Reagan's PIA to the tremendous teamwork between the ship's crew and shipyard workers from Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Northrop-Grumman's Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and Southwest Regional Maintenance Command.

"This is where a warship should be," said Ravelo. "I was walking around the ship and as we made it to deep water I could feel that energy in the crew."

During the maintenance period, Ronald Reagan received technological upgrades that will prepare it for its next deployment and beyond. Refurbishments ranged from hi-tech combat systems to firefighting equipment. The crew also benefited, receiving living spaces and improved ship's laundry services, to list a few.

"With the modernization we're now going through I think it serves as a preparation," said Ravelo. "The challenges out there in the real world are becoming a lot more complex. By investing the time and money into these carriers and upgrading the systems, it better prepares us to tackle all of those challenges."

Ronald Reagan's PIA began last fall, on the heels of the ship's fourth deployment in four years. The PIA was the ship's second, the first coming in 2007. With most of the crew involved in that maintenance period transferred, going from an operational carrier to a shipyard environment was difficult at first.

"Initially it was tough," said Ravelo. "After that initial shockwave once we got into the groove I think everyone worked really well together. Again, teamwork was the key."