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USS Carl Vinson Improves Teamwork with Shipyard to Complete Milestones

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070906-24
Release Date: 9/6/2007 6:22:00 PM

By Ensign Arlo Abrahamson, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va (NNS) -- Senior leadership from Northrop Grumman Newport News and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) gathered for a three-day conference on Aug. 30, to forge together plans for the ship's crew move aboard (CMA) evolution scheduled for late 2008, as part of the aircraft carrier's refueling complex overhaul (RCOH).

The conference, called a "lean event" by shipyard engineers and Carl Vinson's project officers, allowed members of Carl Vinson's project team to closely analyze their own processes and timelines that lead toward successful completion of key RCOH milestones, and improve workflow, strategies and efficiency in the daily management of the project.

"This joint Crew Move Aboard event is another fine example of the entire Vinson project team recognizing that there are always opportunities for further improvement and refinement in the processes we use to accomplish critical work on the ship," said Jim Hughes, Northrop Grumman Newport News project supervisor for Carl Vinson's RCOH. "I was extremely pleased with what the team identified and their recommendations going forward. This event will have a huge positive impact on our future success."

During the event, RCOH planners from the ship's force and Northrop Grumman Newport News identified lessons learned from a knowledge capture database that contained valuable input from past carrier overhauls.

"This is the stage where past carrier RCOH projects incurred some challenges, so we wanted to take those lessons learned from past, and work as a team with our Northrop Grumman counterparts to make any corrective action necessary to ensure successful completion of Carl Vinson's shipyard milestones," said Capt Dennis Mikeska, Carl Vinson's executive officer.

One of the key strategies that came out the conference was a proactive plan for accomplishing the aircraft carrier's CMA, forecasting the implementation of the distributive systems for each shipboard space, while members of the ship's force prepare and groom these same spaces simultaneously so that Sailors can live and work aboard once again.

"Our ship's force is responsible for the grooming phase on this project," said Cmdr. Matthew Feehan, Carl Vinson's maintenance manager. "We don't want the grooming of spaces to stop or be delayed while distributive systems are being installed. These two actions must be coordinated together."

This coordinated effort requires careful attention to detail by members of Carl Vinson's RCOH team. Each space on board the ship will require an acceptance from Northrop Grumman Newport News to members of the ship's force. Before turnover occurs and crew members can move back aboard, each space must have proper lighting, paint, insulation, electricity, and ventilation to be habitable for Sailors to work and live onboard.

"Our goal is to move our crew back into their spaces incrementally and do it only one time," said Carl Vinson's Commanding Officer, Capt Ted Carter. "This will require our grooming and installation of distributive systems to be successfully online before our Sailors move into a space."

The end goal for Team Carl Vinson; a more efficient and timely CMA process, an evolution that will be critical to Carl Vinson's journey back to operational status.

"We want each space we move into to be a 'shiny new penny,' ready for our Sailors to operate out of," said Carter. "The crew move aboard will be the defining evolution that will impact the next 25 years in the lifecycle of this ship."

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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