YOKOSUKA, Japan –
The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center team working on the selected restricted availability for USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) marked the 50 percent complete milestone in Yokosuka, Japan, March 10.
Ronald Reagan arrived back in Japan Nov. 14, 2020, following a six-month Indo-Pacific deployment. The project team, which includes PSNS & IMF Detachment Yokosuka employees, along with PSNS & IMF and Norfolk Naval Shipyard employees on temporary duty to Japan and Ship Repair Facility, Yokosuka personnel, began critical path work in early December 2020, a month before the official project start date of Jan. 12, 2021.
“We had folks here ready to help with temporary systems and do the shipboard assessments we weren't able to accomplish while the ship was at sea, due to COVID-19 restrictions,” said Cmdr. Eric Thurkins, deputy project superintendent. “The early start date was Dec. 11, 2020, and this was the point when we really started to get into critical and controlling chains of work.”
The team applied tube cleaning innovations from previous availabilities, including USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 62) to help get the project off to a solid start.
“We were able to clean 53,000 tubes with only 101 re-cleans needed, a failure rate of only 0.2 percent,” said Thurkins. “The time to both accomplish this and the reduction in re-work was significant. This method is safer and results in a better working environment.”
Major work completed so far during the SRA includes non-skid replacement on the flight deck and hangar bay, aircraft elevator repair, and various valve and component repairs.
Thurkins said the skills and dedication of the project team have been instrumental to the SRA’s success.
The project team has managed to stay on task and on time despite the challenges brought about because of COVID-19. Fewer people than normal were sent to support the work, they arrived earlier than they normally would, and they had to adhere to Restriction of Movement requirements when they first arrived.
“We had to bring some people over earlier than we would have otherwise, which meant some missed holidays with their families, and some folks later, meaning a later start to some work than desired,” Thurkins said. “Our Workforce Support Team did a phenomenal job coordinating housing, feeding and provisioning hundreds of individuals in these unprecedented circumstances. Despite all these challenges, the workforce here has excelled above and beyond, bringing us to the 50 percent point on schedule.”
Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, the team was not able to have a barbecue to mark the 50 percent milestone as they normally do. They coordinated a three-day pizza lunch instead, to ensure COVID-19 protective protocols were adhered to, while showing the workforce how appreciated their hard work is.
“Overall, we fed 627 people with 187 pizzas,” said Thurkins. “This was coordinated through the respective supervisors to ensure each work group got their pizza. In order to follow COVID-19 restrictions, we had people take their pizzas back to their designated areas to eat.”
“We wouldn't have been successful getting to this point if it weren't for the hundreds of individuals who have worked so hard in this exceedingly challenging environment away from home,” said Devin Johnson, project superintendent. “We are always appreciative of those willing to travel to Japan to support this vital, strategically forward-deployed aircraft carrier; but with the hardships caused by operating in the midst of a global pandemic, the work done by these dedicated, selfless individuals is truly awe-inspiring.”
To learn more about the tube cleaning innovation mentioned above, go to https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Media/News/Article/2541769/.