Repairs and other problems have delayed the deployment of the USS John F. Kennedy. The Kennedy completed more than 30 hours of sea trials earlier this week, meeting or exceeding all standards necessary to prove the carrier is safe and reliable to conduct sustained combat operations.
Since December 11, Kennedy Sailors have worked side-by-side with civilian contractors, around the clock, to correct deficiencies identified in a recent INSURV assessment.
Sea trials were the payoff for their efforts. Every area identified as deficient was proven to be operational.
According to MMCS(SW) Donald Duffy, engineering aft group leading chief petty officer, the Sailors in Engineering Department have been working especially hard. He said, “They’ve been working up to eighteen hours a day, six or seven days a week.”
“The repairs we’ve done have helped the ship tremendously, we’ve improved the plant’s condition. It has been a lot of work, but they’ll have less to worry about during the deployment,” Duffy said.
During the underway period, the Kennedy Sailors conducted sea trials to ensure the ship is capable of safe and reliable operations. Duffy says the Engineering department is upbeat and ready to show the world a new Kennedy. They have conducted a series of tests on the boilers and the propulsion system, including boiler flex and shaft seal checks.
A ‘boiler flex’ tests the steam-generating boilers and all auxiliary equipment for the ability to safely operate under any load, from heating shower water to powering the four catapults. Boiler flex tests were satisfactorily conducted on seven of Big John
’s eight boilers, though only four boilers were required to meet Navy standards. According to Kennedy’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Turk Green, “A lack of time was the only reason we didn’t test the eighth boiler, but given the results of the other seven, I’m confident that it too would’ve passed with flying colors.”
The shaft seal checks monitor any valves and fittings in each of the ship’s four Main Machinery Rooms for leaks. Duffy said all engineering tests went well.
Another major test of the propulsion system was a full power run. The full power run tested the limits of the propulsion system, slowly building from a slow speed to speed in excess of 30 knots.
“We’re all upbeat. We’re ready to show the world that the bad press is in the past. We wanted to achieve the maximum, and we exceeded all the expectations,” said Duffy.
Green said he couldn’t have been more pleased with the performance of the ship or the crew during the sea trial period and in the eight weeks leading up to this point. Addressing the crew, Green said, “You and the ship performed remarkably well. The ship is once again, safe and reliable. All of the INSURV discrepancies have been overcome. Big John is ready to go kick butt whenever and wherever the President tells us to go.”
A deployment date for the Battle Group will be announced at the appropriate time.
Story by JOSN Tyce Velde