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USS Kearsarge Back Online, Successfully Completes Sea Trials

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060324-08

By Journalist 1st Class (SW) Robert Keilman, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) completed Sea Trials March 9, marking completion of the first step in the ship's training cycle following a four-month overhaul period at BAE Systems shipyard in Norfolk, Va.

During the underway period, Kearsarge performed a variety of demonstrations which certified its abilities to perform missions at any time, under any circumstance.

“Sea Trials was an opportunity for us to run our systems through a variety of tests to ensure they work as they should and to review our underway procedures,” said Capt. Joseph Sensi, Kearsarge’s commanding officer. “The entire crew did a fantastic job getting the ship to sea for the first time in a few months to complete this first step in our training cycle.”

Tests included evaluation of the ship’s missile countermeasures system, a search and rescue drill, man overboard drill, anchor drop test, close-in weapons system (CIWS) practice fire, drone engagement and a precision approach and landing system (PALS) certification.

“We had a new TPX-42 system installed, which is used to help us control air traffic,” said Ensign Chad Hunsucker, Kearsarge’s amphibious air traffic control center officer. “During this underway period, we had an F-18 fighter jet make controlled approaches to the ship so that we could test our equipment.”

“We were scheduled to complete two flight periods for our certification; however, everyone did so well that we were able to accomplish it in just one,” said Hunsucker.

According to Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SW) Rusty Richardson, Kearsarge’s forward main machinery room leading petty officer, during the ship’s overhaul period, Norfolk Naval Shipyard performed extensive work on the ship’s forward boiler. This included re-tubing, repairs to the furnace and steam stop valve as well as installation of a new furnace camera so that watchstanders can have a bird’s eye view of the furnace’s combustion at all times.

“We did a full-power run during sea trials,” said Richardson. “For the ship’s boilers not having fire in them for the past five months, everything went well. It was nice to see the plant get up to 176 shaft RPMs (revolutions per minute) and really move out.”

This was Kearsarge’s first time at sea since returning from deployment last September. In the past three years, Kearsarge has deployed three times in support of operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, and the global war on terrorism.

Kearsarge’s next phase of training will entail flight deck, force protection, navigation and combat systems certifications scheduled to take place later this spring.

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