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Essex Undergoes SRA

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070914-10
Release Date: 9/14/2007 3:06:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Frank Andrews, American Forces Network Det. Sasebo

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) continues to push through a Selective Restrictive Availability (SRA) maintenance period in Sasebo, Japan, which began in late July and will continue into late October, to make way for upgrades throughout the ship.

Some of the work in progress includes upgrades to various combat systems spaces, the refurbishing of two berthing spaces, resurfacing the flight deck with new non-skid, and painting the ship’s hull.

“We’re finishing up the SRA,” said Chief Warrant Officer Brian Schenkel, a repair officer on Essex. “We do this every two years. It’s a time for the ship to accomplish some industrial-level maintenance. A lot of good work got done. So far it’s been pretty smooth.”

The passageways, hangar bays and pier were full with the industrial sights and sounds you would expect to see from a U.S. warship being refurbished.

“There’s a lot of construction going on; you have to be careful,” said Chief (Sel.) Navy Counselor (SW/AW) Tasha Paxton.

“Safety is paramount. You have to have your hardhat on. There’s a lot of ducking down; there’s a lot or wires, a lot of everything. Right now we’re [renovating] some of the berthing and painting them. Also, we’re painting the outside of the ship, so we’ll be looking good again,” said Paxton.

Although contractors are doing most of the repairs to the ship, some Sailors like Air Traffic Controller 3rd Class Jerod Oliver, were sent to tiger teams to refurbish many different parts of the ship.

“There’s contractors, then there’s us,” said Oliver. “We have spaces assigned to us; we do whatever is delegated to us. We’ve done spaces up on the 0-5 level, and were doing administration and weapons spaces.”

Essex plans to complete the SRA around the middle of October and will then be ready for their fall patrol.

Essex is the Navy’s only forward deployed amphibious assault ship and is the flagship for the Sasebo, Japan-based Essex Expeditionary Strike Group, which serves under Commander, Task Force 76. Task Force 76 is the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force and is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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