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USS Carl Vinson Sailor Plays Vital Role in RCOH

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070425-14
Release Date: 4/25/2007 5:03:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Candice Villarreal, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- A USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) crew member is playing a pivotal role in the ship’s Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) by improving the material deficiency tracking system on board the aircraft carrier.

Machinist’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Stephen Belflower, the leading petty officer of a five-person material tracking team, has been responsible for managing the ship’s material condition assessment process (MCAP) since 2005. Belflower performs weekly inspections aimed at identifying safety issues and material deficiencies that are detrimental to the successful and timely accomplishment of RCOH and Carl Vinson’s eventual return to operational status.

While on board Carl Vinson, Belflower has helped develop a methodical process that tracks material deficiencies. Because of his innovative efforts with material tracking, Belflowers’s initiatives are now utilized throughout the fleet.

“We used to have an old-fashioned database with paper hit lists,” said Belflower. “There was no method to that madness.”

The new system allows inspection results to be entered into personal digital assistants (PDAs) that can be synchronized with a larger database on the ship’s computer network. Any deficiencies identified during the process are then assigned to the proper work centers for repair.

“During RCOH, if you don’t have an efficient and functional method for tracking and fixing deficiencies, the shipyard period can be prolonged,” said Belflower. “By catching these problems early and using preventive maintenance techniques, the Navy will save a lot of money in the long run.”

Belflower added that during the extensive RCOH period, collateral shipyard damage must be tracked, as well as the normal wear-and-tear of a commissioned aircraft carrier.

The efforts and initiative demonstrated by Belflower are appreciated by his leaders.

“Petty Officer Belflower’s work with MCAP is revolutionizing the way the entire Navy records and repairs equipment problems,” said Senior Chief Electronics Technician (SW/AW) Matthew Beeler. “We’re proud to have him on board.”

Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.

During RCOH, Carl Vinson’s nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship’s services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.

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