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Stennis Implements New Procedures for QA

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050726-11
Release Date: 7/26/2005 7:31:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Gabriel Owens, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS (NNS) -- During its Drydocked Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) period, Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) have helped bring about changes in quality assurance (QA).

Quality assurance is a process that double checks work being done to ensure it’s being performed correctly and safely.

“Before now, only 50 percent of all QA checks were being monitored by a third party,” said Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Scott Wiruth, one of the DPIA leading supervisors. “As part of a new initiative, 100 percent of QA checks are to be monitored by a third party.”

Originally, this job fell to the Supervisor of Ships Puget Sound team, now called Code 425. Ship’s crew DPIA teams were selected to assist Code 425 with the higher QA requirement. This helps Stennis accomplish more during its rehabilitation period.

“We oversee the contractors to ensure the work is correct,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW) Chad Hutchins, another DPIA team supervisor. “We perform third-party QA, ensuring the proper checks are being done, and done correctly.”

The work packages (which detail work needing to be accomplished, such as installing a new electrical system) are generated by the primary contractor and then approved by ship surveyors in Code 425.

As part of the packages, there are preset checkpoints for QA. During any work package, whether it’s repainting a space or tiling a deck, QA will periodically check procedures and work accomplishments as set by the work package.

These QAs on jobs such as piping and electrical systems ensure less rework is required once the ship returns to sea. Wiruth said it is sometimes a tough job.

“There is no typical work package," Wiruth said. “For instance, we have to be given specialized training to inspect coating systems (paint).”

This initiative will affect future DPIAs by ensuring that the ship has a say in the work being accomplished by the contractor, while also providing a higher standard of quality for future naval shipyard endeavors.

But Wiruth said he could not accomplish this without the hard work of his DPIA teams.

“These guys do all the work, and I’m real proud of what they have accomplished,” he said.

Stennis is currently at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard undergoing extensive overhaul, and is nearly two-thirds completed. The ship plans to be out of dry dock this fall.

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