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Carl Vinson Sailors Embrace Grooming Efforts, Learn From Past Overhaul

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080326-07
Release Date: 3/26/2008 12:41:00 PM

By Mass Communication Seaman Matthew Dewitt, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) has assembled a group of crew members to carry out an important yet difficult task; groom spaces in support of the ship's much anticipated crew move aboard evolution scheduled for August 2008.

The grooming phase of an aircraft carrier includes painting and refurbishing shipboard spaces.

Throughout Carl Vinson, a new buzz is in the air as Sailors anticipate the major transition of moving on board and bringing the ship back to operational status.

"Our efforts here truly mark the final phase of refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) and signify where we're going," said Lt. Bill Thiers, who manages grooming efforts for the ship. "We're all very excited about where we'll be six months from now."

Special representatives for the ship, called zone managers, take ownership for selected areas of the aircraft carrier and work with departmental space owners as well as shipyard employees to ensure the overhaul process remains integrated.

The other key to facilitating a coordinated space grooming effort is a lessons learned database; something Carl Vinson Sailors received from past aircraft carrier overhaul processes; and something Carl Vinson is building to make the next carrier overhaul even more efficient.

"During the last aircraft carrier overhaul, they were not sure how long it would actually take to complete the grooming process," said Thiers. "We learned from the last overhaul to start our process early, so our timing would meet up with crew move aboard."

The grooming effort has taken Sailors out of their normal occupations.

"Grooming is the critical piece behind the restoration of this huge national asset," said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st class (AW/SW) Scott Pires, from the ship's AIMD (Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department). We have to do it right."

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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