USS Nimitz (CVN 68) completed a six-month Chief of Naval Operations Planned Incremental Availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility Nov. 9, 2021, one day early.
“The entire Nimitz team showed incredible dedication, diligence, and commitment to excellence for the duration of this complex availability, delivering the ship ahead of schedule,” said Capt. Jip Mosman, commander, PSNS & IMF. “Their display of leadership and cooperation proves there is nothing we can’t accomplish as one team, focused on our shared mission. Bravo Zulu, great work!”
Nimitz arrived at PSNS & IMF in March 2021, after an 11-month deployment with limited port calls, no in-port maintenance periods and none of the usual in-person availability planning meetings between the ship and shipyard.
According to Brian Fazio, Nimitz project superintendent, the project team comprised of PSNS & IMF personnel, Nimitz Sailors and private sector contractors were able to move the crew onto the living barge, establish the temporary services backbone, and get a head start on several long duration work items during a 30-day early-start period.
The availability included more than 220,000 work-days at a cost of about $150 million.
Fazio said the team accomplished the massive amount of work needed despite the COVID-19 mitigation environment.
“This was obviously challenging to complete this availability under the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fazio said. “We recognize and respect the seriousness of the COVID-19 virus, and we knew if we followed all COVID-19 mitigation guidance from the command, production work would be able to be completed in support of project milestones and key events.”
Lessons learned from previous availabilities and established PSNS & IMF processes and procedures, led to the success of this availability.
“Component inspections must be accomplished early in the availability so that growth work can be planned for,” explained Fazio. “It’s also critically important to perform open-and-inspect tasks as early as possible to give the incredible Shop 31 Inside Shop machinists as much time as possible to perform necessary repairs and overhauls. Carrier teams must build an integrated schedule and trust and believe in it. They must follow the schedule and never stop focusing on serving the people who perform naval shipyard maintenance.”
Fazio credited the excellent working relationships among all the members of Team Nimitz, as well as the dedication of the ship’s force personnel with the success of the availability.
“The private sector maintenance team, ship’s force and shipyard personnel all worked well together as a team, and worked safely, to finish this availability on time,” he said. “I could not be more proud of this high-performing, safety-minded team. All team members were resilient and determined, and they understood the significance of this availability to the Navy and the fleet.”
Given where Nimitz is in its projected lifespan, and with it being the lead vessel of its class the lessons learned on this CNO Availability will inform all future Nimitz-class availabilities.
The Nimitz Commanding Officer, Capt. Craig “Bo” Sicola, took command of the vessel during the early part of the availability.
"Leaving the shipyard safely and on time has been the top priority of mine since taking command of Nimitz,” he said. “This achievement would not have been possible without the outstanding professionalism, impeccable coordination, and hard work among shipyard personnel, its workforce and Nimitz crew members. The bond Nimitz holds with the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is as strong as ever, and I can't think of a greater embodiment of the Nimitz motto 'teamwork, a tradition' than the history and working relationship our commands share."
According to Joe McGrath, assistant project superintendent with Code 312, Aircraft Carrier Maintenance Office, Fazio has been with the Nimitz team since 2014. During this time, he supervised the execution of more than 1.5 million resource days of work during three CNO availabilities and countless upkeep periods. Prior to joining Team Nimitz, Fazio was the Shop 38 Marine Machinery superintendent for five years.
A graduate of the PSNS & IMF Apprentice Program, Fazio will be calling it a career at the end of 2021, following 38 years of federal service.