USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) returned Feb. 14 after completing two days of sea trials following a nearly seven-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va.
Truman completed her shipyard stay on schedule and on budget, returning to Norfolk with numerous repairs, improvements and upgrades to ship's systems and the shipboard environment.
"For the shipyard work, there was approximately a five percent savings on what was budgeted," said Matt Durkin, the shipyard's project superintendent for Truman. "We set goals for ourselves during the planning concerning quality, safety, cost and schedule. We actually met or exceeded all those goals."
Completing PIA on schedule is necessary to ensure the ship meets her operational commitments, said Capt. Herman Shelanski, Truman's commanding officer.
"The fact that we were able to finish a bit ahead of schedule is really nice," Shelanski said. "Every at sea period has to be accomplished on schedule, and you can't take time out of that schedule to do major maintenance."
Truman underwent a host of repairs, but the largest project was a Dual Media Discharge (DMD). This is a time-consuming maintenance on the propulsion plant that occurs once every ten years and is vital to the ship's readiness.
"We were able to accomplish it in about four months, which was really record setting," Shelanski said. "The last ship to do it took about nine months."
Truman also completed the reactor training modification, making Truman the third nuclear powered aircraft carrier to do so. Contractors prepared a new training space for Reactor department personnel and completely revamped Media department spaces.
Besides operational maintenance and upgrades, Sailors completed many projects that enhanced the ship cosmetically. Sailors replaced decking, paint, lagging, doors and hatches throughout the ship, and completely rehabilitated many berthing spaces. These projects will improve the quality of life for the crew and help boost morale, said Durkin.
One of Truman's major focuses throughout the PIA was keeping Sailors trained and ready for an underway. The importance of keeping up with training is learned from the last yard period, and it proved to be this PIA's greatest accomplishment.
"The biggest victory was that when we went into the shipyard, we decided we were not going to lose our focus on training and being Sailors, and we were very successful at that," Shelanski said. "After completing this underway period, I can see that there's a little more we have to do to get up to fighting speed, but on the whole, the crew has great spirit and great morale and is ready to get the ship ready for deployment."
The culmination of the shipyard period was a two-day sea trial, which the ship performed while transiting back to Norfolk. Sea trials allow the command to assess the ship's state of readiness, get Sailors back into an underway mindset and ensure maintenance was properly completed in the yards. The sea trial was special because it marked the last underway for Capt. Shelanski as commanding officer of Truman. Shelanski will relinquish command of Truman Feb. 18.