Mayport, Fla. –
In January 2021, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) engineers Bob Bent, Craig Smith, Steve Pack, and Shane Docks were dispatched to Mayport, Fla. on a mission to prepare USS IWO JIMA for her impending 2021 deployment. After multiple trips and countless hours spent on troubleshooting and repair, the NSWCPD team’s skills restored an antiquated and non-functioning degaussing system and cleared a multitude of Generator Load Share and Governor Controls issues.
The two-part mission included assessing the equipment, ordering parts, and making repairs to the Ship’s electrical power plant and the degaussing systems, some of which were close to half a century old and difficult to support. The second part of the trip included a one-week hotel quarantine due to COVID protocol. The NSWCPD engineers worked side-by-side with the Ship’s Force 16 to 20 hours a day for five days during the pre-deployment Steam Testing phase, finding and fixing a myriad of highly technical and complex repairs. Parts of these systems were no longer supported and many of the parts used for the repairs came from decommissioned assets as far away as San Diego.
In acknowledgement of their efforts, Cmdr. Tom Foegelle, IWO JIMA Chief Engineer (CHENG), sent a glowing “Bravo Zulu” to Nicholas Dewey, NSWCPD Electrical Power Systems Division Branch Manager, praising Bent, Smith, Pack, and Docks for their substantial work and training.
In the BZ Foegelle said, “Your team of superstars provided seven days of training, grooming and correcting a myriad of long-standing discrepancies in five SSTGs and both SS/EDGs governor and load sharing circuits. After over 36 hours of troubleshooting and repairs, ALL Generators were fully flexed and operationally tested satisfactorily. Concurrently, they are solely responsible for clearing a three-year CAT3 CASREP on the no longer Allowance Parts List (APL)-supported Ship's Degaussing system.”
“Your team of Engineers is second to none and devoted beyond compare!” continued Foegelle. “Their emphasis on training is building a legacy throughout the fleet. Their level of effort is unsurpassed and their determination and ownership was as if they were deploying with the crew of IWO JIMA. Their professional knowledge stems from over 80 years of combined experience and true understanding of the entire system. They are not just parts replacers, they are savants!! IWO, her crew and I are truly blessed to have had them supporting us, and there are no words to truly describe how pleased the CO and I are.”
The NSWCPD engineers appreciated the CHENG’s kind words and were thankful for the Sailors’ support in this mission.
“It was very nice to hear that what we did was appreciated,” said Bent. “The ship really went out of their way to make things comfortable for us. They were really hospitable. We enjoyed contributing to the Ship’s electric plant reliability and safety. We look at these jobs as though we were sailing into harm’s way with the crew. We love to work with Sailors who are so receptive to learning, which was prevalent with the IWO JIMA engineers, most notably the electrical division.”
“I appreciated the collaborative efforts between the electrical crew (EM’s) and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), as they fully supported us and helped with troubleshooting,” added Docks. “The crew worked with us well and allowed us to get done what we needed to get done. Without the crew assisting with problem solving, our efforts repairing the ship would have taken longer.”
“It was very humbling, but yet very gratifying to see the team efforts put forth are so much appreciated,” said Smith. “It means the hours provided do not go unnoticed. A total team effort that could not have been completed without outstanding Ship’s Force support. The crew went above and beyond beginning with behind the scenes support that started before we even arrived. Once we were onsite, it was excellent, from berthing to meals to deckplate assistance. We couldn’t have asked for more. They made our job much easier. The support from the CO, CHENG and ELECTRO down to the deckplate Sailors was second to none.”
“It means a lot to know that we are appreciated on the waterfront. I know we are appreciated on the deckplates, but it's good to see it come from such a high level,” said Pack. “It was a very rewarding experience. It's nice to have Ship’s Force personnel who are very engaged and willing to learn. The crew supported us no matter when we wanted to work. They even supported us over a holiday weekend. There was outstanding support through and through.”
The NSWCPD engineers noted that while they were physically onsite at the IWO JIMA, there were many people in other locations who contributed in making their mission a success, including NSWCPD contractors Brian Rader and Marty Wichmann in San Diego, who sent parts removed from the USS Boxer upgrade that were no longer available. Additionally, their department is working on long-term modifications and upgrades to modernize the technology on IWO JIMA and other ships in that class.
NSWCPD employs approximately 2,700 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.