USS KEARSARGE, At Sea (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) completed a successful three-day sea trials March 14, following major repairs to No. 2 low pressure turbine and an extensive maintenance availability period.
In preparation for the sea trials event, the Kearsarge crew, Commander Naval Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center technicians, and various contractors, spent thousands of man-hours completing equipment repairs and maintenance. They also ensured the ship’s engineering, combat systems, aviation and damage control equipment were in excellent material and operational condition.
During the sea trials, the crew operated the ship through her entire required capability to include a full power test of the ship’s propulsion system, a combat systems detect-to-engage sequence, installed damage control systems testing, full ballast system operational testing and ship self-defense live-fire exercises.
“We performed function checks on the aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) operating system to make sure the flight deck has comprehensive firefighting capabilities,” said Damage Controlman 1st Class (SW) Juan Lopez, leading petty officer of the ship’s Damage Control Division. “This allows the flight deck crew the ability to do their jobs in a safe manner should a [mishap] ever occur.”
In addition to the AFFF system, the ship’s countermeasure wash down system was also tested.
“It’s important to test the countermeasure wash down system because it protects us in the event we’re engaged in a chemical or biological environment,” said Lopez.
When not engaged in system testing events, the crew sharpened its operational skills by conducting fire fighting drills, flight operations, engineering plant operations drills, watch stander proficiency training and an underway replenishment with fleet replenishment ship USNS Laramie (T-AO 203).
One exercise conducted was proficiency firing of the ship’s .50-caliber machine guns, which are vital to the ship’s self-defense.
“The purpose of the exercise is to allow the crew-served weapons watch team to be familiar and proficient in the use of the .50-caliber machine gun,” said Chief Gunner’s Mate (SW/AW) John Russaw.
During flight operations, Kearsarge conducted numerous take offs and landings in support of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 pilot qualifications including night vision goggle operations.
“We brought some passengers aboard, conducted a photo exercise and performed deck landing qualifications,” said Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Claudia Zamora. “Usually pilots have certain qualifications they have to do throughout the year. Since we were underway, we wanted to complete some of those qualifications.”
With the sea trials now behind her, Kearsarge is ready to continue duties as the flag ship for the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group
. The ship will also conduct advanced pre-deployment training. This training will include the completion of advanced qualifications and complex multiship exercises designed to include ship’s crew readiness for deployment.
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick Gearhiser, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs