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NNS020910-05 USS Carl Vinson: Back in Action Following a Record-Setting Yard Period

9/10/2002 9:43:00 AM

By Journalist 3rd Class Mat Sohl, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

ABOARD USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- On Sept. 6, USS Carl Vinson's (CVN 70) Commanding Officer, Capt. Richard Wren, announced to his chain of command that Carl Vinson was officially finished with her yard period and was once again prepared to operate at sea.

"I couldn't be more proud of this crew and the effort and pride all hands have shown getting this magnificent vessel back out to sea and operational. In true Carl Vinson spirit, I raised my hand Friday and told the world that Carl Vinson is back," said Wren. "I think that it is fitting, on the anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th, that USS Carl Vinson, the first carrier to launch strikes during Operation Enduring Freedom, is ready to prepare for our next mission."

Two days earlier, Carl Vinson shifted colors and departed Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) after completing a record-setting maintenance availability.

This is Carl Vinson's first underway period since the ship returned home in late January from its deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"It feels great to see the ship back at sea where it belongs," said Senior Chief Operations Specialist (SW) Mark Doll, who served as the leading chief petty officer of the ship's rehabilitation team during the yard period. "It took tons of hard work to get the ship back out here."

For the past five months Sailors aboard Carl Vinson, along with shipyard workers, civilian contractors and government employees have worked around the clock, completing more than 300,000 man days of work, in an effort to restore and refurbish the vessel.

During the ship's five-month stay at PSNS several new operational systems were installed, and the ship's flight deck and catapults were completely renovated. Numerous other spaces and crew living areas were also entirely restored, drastically improving the working and living conditions for the crew.

"I was really excited to see all of the improvements in our heads and living areas," said Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Ed Griffin. "A lot of hard work went into our spaces, and it's really a nice place to live."

While quality of life issues were being addressed throughout the ship, other Sailors, shipyard workers and contractors installed new systems on the carrier that will enhance the efficiency of Carl Vinson.

One of the biggest jobs performed during the Vinson's yard stay was the installation of the Smart Carrier System, which makes use of automated technology to monitor the carrier's damage control, jet fuel and list control systems.

"Smart Carrier will allow the bigger picture to be seen more clearly and efficiently," said Lt. Cmdr. Ken Donaldson, Carl Vinson's maintenance officer. "It will make all of our jobs easier by reducing the workload for Sailors by use of remote controls and monitoring capabilities."

Adding to the intensity of the yard period was the fact that the ship's work package, which had originally been scheduled for six months, was condensed to five months. Proving they were up for any challenge, the team of Sailors and shipyard workers tackled the compressed workload and charged to an impressive finish -achieving their goal and raising the bar for future carriers.

"The fact that we did the work that was planned for six-months, and did it in five is precedent setting," said Donaldson. "We have set the standard."

The carrier and her crew will be returning Tuesday to their homeport of Naval Station Bremerton from almost a week of fast-paced testing and training at sea. Carl Vinson's successful completion of these Sea Trials signals the ships anticipated return to the operational fleet.

With the shipyard behind them, Vinson Sailors now meet a new set of challenges as they ramp up to hone the skills of carrier aviation for their next deployment.

"I'm very excited about Carl Vinson's future," Wren said. "In the next couple of months, this crew will be ramping up to launch and recover aircraft again. And, I am positive that this ship and this crew will continue to set the standard for the fleet and prove that we are ready to face whatever may come."

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