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Nimitz Begins its Abbreviated Carrier Incremental Availability

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071028-06
Release Date: 10/28/2007 4:27:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Dustin Q. Diaz, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) became the first carrier in the fleet to experiment with an abbreviated maintenance availability when it officially began its Carrier Incremental Availability (CIA) Oct. 15.

The 30-day maintenance availability will see Sailors and contractors perform repairs and upgrades to vital systems needed to operate at sea, according to Cmdr. Charles Baker, Nimitz' chief engineer.

"This is a 30-day maintenance availability in which the ship will receive some heavy maintenance needed to restore the flight deck, arresting gear and catapult systems," Baker said, "and other life cycle work, like upgrades to chill water, CHT, ventilation, potable and other systems that make the ship run."

According to Chief Warrant Officer William Thames, auxiliary technician, CIA can be compared to a mini-PIA (Planned Incremental Availability), in that critical work needed to operate at sea for long periods of time will be done, but in a much shorter time frame.

"We have to go back to sea and we don't have time to go through the whole process of a PIA," agreed Chief Machinist's Mate (SW) Euclide Hyppolite. "We're doing the jobs that are critical to go back out and we'll do more work during a PIA down the road."

Hyppolite said the planning for this evolution began in August when civilians came aboard and met with department heads to discuss available funding and critical jobs. He added that good relations between shipboard personnel and civilian workers are key to getting the work done.

"We can't do anything without them, but we must also be prepared to help them with whatever they need," Hyppolite said. "They do a lot of their work overnight, so duty section personnel must be standing by to help them whenever they need it. I think we have done a better job with this than any other carrier would do because our organization is so strong."

Hyppolite said the ship has faced challenges in meeting its objectives, such as funding with the new fiscal year, manning with half the crew being on leave during the first two weeks of CIA, and outside factors such as the California wildfires.

"Despite the problems, we are hitting all our marks and our job completion percentage goes up each day," Hyppolite said. "I think we will have most of our work done Nov. 9, far ahead of the Nov. 16 deadline."

Thames said that despite the less-than-ideal conditions to test out a new process, he expects Nimitz to set the standard as a test platform and for the new CIA to become an established way of doing things.

"That's what the name is based on, this evolution will let carriers get back to sea much faster," Thames said. "Based on our output, I believe this is what carriers are going to start to do, and when we see more carriers doing it, we can say it all started here."

Commanded by Capt. Mike Manazir, Nimitz is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 11. Nimitz returned home to San Diego Sept. 30 after completing a successful six-month Western Pacific and Persian Gulf deployment.

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