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Ford Forges Forward Thanks to Norfolk Naval Shipyard Off-Yard Carriers Team

By Kristi Britt, Public Affairs Specialist | April 20, 2020

NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. —

Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) Commander Capt. Kai Torkelson recognized personnel involved with the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) project Apr. 17 for their support in bringing the carrier to certified status and readiness for naval aviation training.

                During this Window of Opportunity (WOO) for the Ford Project, the NNSY Off-Yard Carriers (OYC) Team planned and executed several tasks for the Structural Department (Code 920). These tasks included fabricating and installing components, and replacing multiple sections of ventilation. A team of more than 100 people worked to help the Ford project, from planning to working on the deck plate, to delivering the ship safely and on schedule.

                “Although the deck plate execution was not overwhelming, the assimilation of the team to conform to Supervisor of Shipbuilding; Conversion and Repair (SUPSHIP) and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) processes and practices was substantial,” said OYC Deputy Project Superintendent J.E. Scruggs. “The team functioned flawlessly in an environment outside of our normal operations. With the priority placed on Ford by the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) and the daily drumbeat of Navy leadership, the team answered the bell by creating new work relationships, setting up new lines of communication, integrating with corporate isolation and work-to-test plans, and developing products for scheduling and tracking of work.”

                The Acting SECNAV recently stated in a Bravo Zulu to the crew and supporting civilians of the Ford, “We have watched from afar with great joy as you brought your ship to life, as one united team.  And it is clear how proud you are of your warship – and justifiably so.  Even though there are still hurdles ahead until we reach final operating capability, you have proven without a doubt that nothing can stop the crew and Navy civilian team of the Ford.  We are "Making Ford Ready" and our adversaries are taking notice, and soon they will come to fully understand the immense capacity of the most powerful warship in the history of the world.”

                The OYC team came together during an awards ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk. Key personnel were recognized during the ceremony, presented with certificates as well as monetary awards for going beyond the call of duty while contending with COVID-19. These personnel were Operations Department (Code 300) Assistant Project Superintendent (APS) Randall Hall and Zone Manager Stephen Jackson, Engineering and Planning Department (Code 200) Project Engineering and Planning Managers C.W. Shaver and David New, Chief Test Engineers (CTE) Dan Bitner and Carl Penland, Test Engineer Troy Curliss, Code 920 Supervisor John Pippin, Work Leader Lena Hartry, and Mechanic Doug Langley.

                “The OYC did amazing work to help make Ford ready, assimilating with other teams and providing critical assistance so that the Ford could begin naval aviation training,” said Capt. Torkelson. “As Ford continues to forge forward, I want you to remember that you were a piece in getting this carrier certified and ready to go. It’s a significant milestone. I appreciate you all doing the job you do every day safely and at first time quality. Amidst all the challenges we face every day, you take them with stride and maximize the mission. I couldn’t be prouder of your accomplishments. ”

                “NNSY and the OYC Team’s BIG win from this will be the relationships built across corporations and overcoming the learning curve that will continue to ensure our ability to provide superb repair and maintenance efforts for the Ford,” said Scruggs. “I’m very proud of the work our team has done and continues to do to service our fleet. They are all top notch and I truly believe this is one of America’s finest off-yard carrier repair teams. Amazing work!”

                To watch the recognition video completed by the Shipyard Instructional Design Center (Code 1170), visit https://youtu.be/A9Dy0RwArfw.