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IKE Completes Planned Incremental Availability, Conducts Fast Cruise

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110613-06

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Marshall, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (IKE) completed a fast cruise June 10, after completing a nine-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) period at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) in Portsmouth, Va.

A fast cruise simulates an out-to-sea environment while a ship is still moored in port and served to review the ship's mission readiness through a series of man overboard drills, general quarters and flight deck drills.

"The fundamentals and basics of training are what are keeping us on track and safe as we build up to the more advanced parts of our work-up cycle," said Captain Marcus A. Hitchcock , USS Dwight D. Eisenhower commanding officer.

The IKE's PIA began during September 2010, and was scheduled to be completed in March. It was extended until June due to a major pump overhaul and unexpected winter storms.

"The shipyard workers and the ship's crew pulled together in a very professional manner to accomplish the goal of getting IKE ready to go out to sea again," said Chrystal Brady, PIA project superintendent.

Hitchcock said many values were shared coming into IKE's PIA. The adaptability and flexibility of the crew along with their ability to keep working through every issue that came up were key to a successful transition on board the ship.

"Today we are absolutely ready to get back to sea," said Hitchcock. "You can walk around and see the phenomenal changes around the ship."

By the end of PIA, IKE Sailors completed many training classes in preparation for the transition from shipyard to sea.

"Everyone has been training, and we've reached a crescendo during fast cruise that lets me know we're ready to get back out to sea," said Hitchcock. "We're ready to knock the rust off and get back to our jobs."

When the fast cruise commenced, all departments throughout the ship immediately started inspecting gear and equipment. Sailors had to ensure that all gear was operational and that new Sailors had proficient knowledge through valuable hands-on training.

"Fast cruise is an important part of getting the ship ready to rejoin the fleet," Hitchcock added. "Soon we'll be out to sea, and we could be faced with any challenge. We need to be ready to tackle these challenges and enforce the mindset that we are going out to sea again."

IKE is scheduled to conduct sea trials, a test of the ship's at-sea capabilities, as their final preparation for returning to the fleet.

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