The crew of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) got the 90,000-ton nuclear powered aircraft carrier underway March 24, for the first time in almost seven months.
Stennis will be underway for approximately five days to conduct a testing phase as the final part of the ship's major maintenance period.
Sea Trials is the final assessment of the ship's material readiness and ability to rejoin the fleet as an operational unit. After all of the ship's systems, installations, and repairs have been tested, inspected and validated, Stennis' major maintenance period, officially called docking planned incremental availability (DPIA), will be complete.
"The crew of USS John C. Stennis is ready and excited to take the ship out to sea," said Stennis' Commanding Officer, Capt. Brad Johanson. "I couldn't be more proud of every Stennis Sailor for their superb efforts."
Pulling away from the pier marks the first time the carrier has been operational since entering a Puget Sound Naval Shipyard dry dock, Sept. 28, 2007.
"The crew of John C. Stennis, teamed up with the super professionals of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, just completed the most intensive maintenance project I have ever seen," said Johanson. "Over the past six months, this ship has completed $240 million in upgrades and maintenance work. We have new combat systems upgrades, new electronic throttle controls, new arresting gear safety control systems, and an extensive suite of new aviation electronic support systems designed to provide maintenance for the new MH-60 helicopters.
"An incredible amount of work that would only be possible with a team of tight knit professionals driven to get the job done on time and under budget," Johanson concluded. "A major victory in our mission to keep Stennis ship-shape."
During Sea Trails, the crew will conduct a serious of tests and evaluate the work that was done during the maintenance period. While the ship was in drydock, shipyard workers, contractors and about 600 of Stennis' Sailors renovated drinking water tanks, main engineering spaces, aircraft support equipment, combat and self-defense systems, and berthing spaces.
As Stennis pulled away from the pier, more than 411,000 man-hours of work had been completed. The ship's forces painted 650 spaces and re-tiled 215 decks. They also cleaned out 295 vents, removed and refurbished about 200 watertight doors and completed 400 lagging (wrapping insulation around pipes) jobs.
After Stennis completes Sea Trials, the crew will focus on preparing for the ship's training cycle and operational proficiency in preparation for a deployment in 2009.
"It will be great to be back at sea," said Johanson. "We must now shift our focus from the maintenance phase to the training phase after an extremely successful docking planned incremental availability. We will now focus our energy and efforts on increasing our combat proficiency and overall operational capability. Stennis will return to the fleet as a national asset ready for assignment."