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TR Prepares to Undock with Fast Cruise

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110513-36

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John Kotara, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) held a "fast cruise" May 12 during its Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) in preparation to flood the ship's dry dock, and to move the ship pier side at Newport News Shipbuilding, which will be the ship's first underway since 2009.

A fast cruise consists of a series of checks and procedures performed on a ship that has undergone an overhaul, or spent an extended period in port. These procedures will help the crew understand their role when the ship's dry dock is flooded and what events will take place during the ship's undocking and short underway to a pier side location.

"Fast cruise will give new Sailors, as well as Sailors who need a refreshing, the chance to learn what to do when we float the ship and undock," said Chief Warrant Officer Cary Carrigan, TR's boatswain. "These checklists will help give us a true assessment and account for potential issues or problems ahead of time, and keep us all on the same page."

For TR and Newport News Shipbuilding personnel, this is a critical evolution because there have been hundreds of cuts and welds made into the hull of the ship during the first 18 months of its RCOH. To maintain the ship's water tight integrity and prevent flooding, water will be gradually allowed to enter the dry dock and make contact with the ship's hull.

With many of the ship's departments working together, including Engineering, Reactor, Deck, Air, Supply, Safety and Navigation, communication was a top priority. Not only was there inter-departmental communication, but communication with shipyard employees as well.

"We speak different terms in each department, as well as pretty much a different language than the shipyard workers," said Carrigan. "So communication is crucial as we prepare for the real thing."

To specifically prepare Sailors, many departments sent their Sailors to schools focusing on qualifications used in their specific rates. The departments also conducted drills and accurate simulations that were as real as possible to better train their Sailors.

Smith explains that in conducting practice drills, Sailors will be able to learn from their mistakes and minimize the surprises that might arise.

"To prepare Sailors, we have practiced and trained well in advance for the events of flooding dry dock and the moving of TR," said Lt. Cmdr. Daniel A. Smith, TR's damage control assistant. "Perfect practice makes perfect."

Team Theodore Roosevelt's fast cruise, and the preparations leading up to it, have allowed the crew and Newport News Shipbuilding employees to ensure the ship's first underway since entering RCOH is a success.

Theodore Roosevelt is currently undergoing its scheduled mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. During the 39-month maintenance period, TR's fuel will be replenished and significant upgrades will be made to the ship's combat and communication systems to extend the ship's service life for 25 or more years. All Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through RCOH near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.

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