Kearsarge Returns to NNSY

Thursday, June 13, 2002
From Norfolk Naval Shipyard Public Affairs Following a back-to-basics approach in performing ship repairs, Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) returned another amphibious-class ship to the fleet within budget and ahead of schedule, as the result of a public-private ship repair partnership in the Hampton Roads area. The shipyard completed a planned maintenance availability (PMA) for the Wasp-class, amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) ten days ahead of schedule and within fixed price budget, according to Project Superintendent Bobby Watkins. "Our back-to-basics approach paid great dividends in making this PMA an overwhelming success," Watkins said. The availability demonstrated the cooperation among Navy organizations, including Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, NNSY, and Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair Portsmouth; the private ship repair company Norshipco, as well as many alteration installation teams and subcontractors. Approximately 400 contractor people worked alongside more than 150 NNSY personnel during this four-month PMA, which started January 8 and was completed April 26. The main project was the expansion of the ship's Collective Protection System (CPS), part of the ship's defense against Chemical, Biological and Radiological weapons. The system provides safe areas for the ship's Sailors and embarked Marines by creating contaminant-free zones aboard the ship. "The collective Protection System (CPS) was the most intrusive of all installations during the PMA, and was the long pole in the tent," explained Kevin Gregorich, the onsite representative from Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia. "Every major support system--chill water, low pressure air, firemain, CHT drains, countermeasure washdown and ventilation--was affected in some way by the CPS installation." According to Deputy Project Superintendent Ray Waterfield, mentoring played a significant role in the success of the PMA. "We were able to mold the NNSY team into a cohesive body with the same goal--that is, to get the work done on Kearsarge, and get this ship battle-ready as soon as possible." "The Kearsarge availability adds another to the string of successful LHD/LHA availabilities here at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and is another indicator that teaming between the public and private sector ship repairers can be done effectively," said Capt. Mark A. Hugel, NNSY's commanding officer.

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