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Enterprise Rehabilitation Team Hits the Deck

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050128-12
Release Date: 1/29/2005 6:07:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class (SW) Jason Thompson, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is five months into its Extended Selected Restricted Availability (ESRA) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyards.

In that time rehabilitation teams have been working day and night, repairing, resurfacing, painting and laying down new decks and tiles around the ship. The deck and tile teams have been running especially hard, completing half of their jobs since the ship pulled pierside Sept. 10.

"We've finished almost 70 jobs since we got into the shipyard," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) (AW/SW) Larry Ward, deck and tile team leading chief petty officer. "We're just about halfway finished with all the jobs submitted."

According to Ward, he has 22 Sailors working for him directly and another 32 Sailors on the terrazzo and matting teams. Those 54 Sailors are divided up through nine to 12 teams at any given time, leading to such a great completion rate.

"New tile is relatively quick to finish. It takes one or two days altogether," explained Ward. "Terrazzo, which is what you have in heads and showers, takes longer. It takes a minimum of three days to complete that kind of job.

"Each division that owns the space we're working on prepares it for the work. We are strictly labor," added Ward. "That way we can come in, set up and get right to work."

While schedules have to be somewhat flexible, Ward said his team is moving along at just the right pace.

"We are where we should be," said Ward. "Things like this do take some time. We have to keep materials on hand and there are issues, but I think we are right on time."

Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class (AW/SW) Joe Henderson is the assistant leading petty officer of the deck and tile team. He believes the team has made great progress since Enterprise left Naval Station Norfolk in September 2004.

"We had to conduct a lot of training with the guys, because most of them have never laid down new tile before. So we had a civilian assist team come aboard and show our guys how to get the job done," said Henderson. "Almost none of them had any experience, and now some of them are so good they could probably do the job as a civilian."

A turnaround like that often requires more than just the knowledge of the workers. Sailors up and down the chain of command need to have the goal firmly in mind.

"Leadership knows we're on track. The big thing for us is keeping our focus and staying the course," said Henderson. "We want to keep a steady pace and keep working, even though problems can and do get in the way."

The deck and tile team also has a built-in quality assurance routine. "Chief comes through with white gloves on every job we do," said Henderson. The white glove treatment isn't literal, but Henderson clarified, "Chief is a stickler for details."

"The important thing for me is that the people on the team treat each job like they would in their own homes," Henderson added. "Would they want to pay for the work they did? They're also taking more pride in their ship because of the work they're doing. Hopefully, when they go back to their divisions that pride will rub off on the other Sailors around them."

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