Ammunition is transferred from the hangar to the flight deck during an ammunition offload aboard USS George Washington
(CVN 73). The Norfolk, Va.-based Nimitz-class aircraft carrier
is currently conducting training off the coast of Virginia. U.S. Navy photo
by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman
USS George Washington (GW) (CVN 73) returned to Naval Station Norfolk Sept. 1, following a two-and-a-half week underway period in preparation of the upcoming Planned Incremental Availability plus Docking (PIA+D).
It was the last at sea period before GW goes to Norfolk Naval Shipyard
“This has been a tremendous underway, a complete success in every regard,” said Rear Adm. Garry R. White, GW’s commanding officer. “It was a privilege to be the first ship to test out new equipment that will make up tomorrow’s fleet,” he commented after the first test of the digital flight control system on the EA-6B Prowler from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23. GW also served as test platform for F/A-18 Hornets, also from VX-23, testing the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS).
The underway period allowed Damage Control (DC) Division and Deck Department to collect crew survival gear that is not necessary to be issued during PIA+D, and Weapons Department to offload ammunition that is not needed for the shipyard.
Sailors in DC Division spent two days collecting chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) gear and preparing it for offloading once the ship returned to homeport, while the Deck Department collected life preservers.
“We’re doing the offload packing now, so we can get an accurate count and accurate inventory of the gear we have on board,” said Damage Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Steve Spencer of DC Division. “We’re pulling the gear out of voids and fan rooms, packing them up in tri-walls and getting ready to ship them to Texas for storage during the PIA+D.”
During the underway, Weapons Department was successfully able to offload its ammunition. Sailors moved more than 600 pallets that were pre-staged on the flight deck and in the hanger bay to USNS Mount Baker (T-AE 34) during simultaneous connected replenishments (CONREP) and vertical replenishment (VERTREP).
“This is definitely something you don’t see every day,” said White, referring to the ship’s underway replenishment and a fueling at sea while also conducting flight operations. “And we wouldn’t do it on GW if I didn’t have complete confidence in everyone involved – the Air Department, Operations, Bridge Team, and everyone on board George Washington.”
“We offloaded all the ordnance so the magazines are empty,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW/SW) Richard Rostow, G-3 Division’s leading petty officer. “The main thing was to get all the live ordnance off before we got into the yards. This way we’ll be able to do hot work without any obstacles.”
Also, during the underway, GW completed Command Assessment of Readiness and Training Phase I (CART I). CART I measures the command’s training programs and manning levels, particularly in specialized skill sets. It helps the command plan for deployments by providing a picture of future manning and training levels.
The upcoming PIA+D will prepare GW for change of homeport to Japan, scheduled for 2008. GW will relieve USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the Navy’s forward-deployed carrier in the Western Pacific.
Source: By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Laura Rabe, USS George Washington Public Affairs