Friday, September 30, 2011

Back on the water: Nimitz departs dry dock

BREMERTON, WASH -- After completing required out-of-the-water maintenance while in dry dock, USS Nimitz (CVN 68) moved from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility's Dry Dock 6 to Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton's Pier Delta Sept. 29.

After moving to Pier Delta, work aboard Nimitz will continue as the ship's Docking Planned Incremental Availability comes to a close. "We're not done yet," said Lt. Cmdr. Chuck O. Jones, the ship's maintenance manager and assistant DPIA coordinator. "The majority of the big industrial work is complete. Now we'll be restoring the ship back to operational status."

Most divisions aboard only have about ten percent of their workload left to complete.
"Normally an availability is 15 months long with eight to ten years in between," said Jones. "But because other ships are also scheduled for dry dock time relatively soon, the availability was shortened to about a year."

While in the dry dock, Nimitz received numerous refurbishments and upgrades. Some of the new upgrades consisted of a more efficient computer Local Area Network system, two new sponsons welded to hold close in weapons systems (CIWS), 15 new industrial dryers and one new industrial washer.

Moving the ship out of the dry dock is a complicated process. Nimitz' bridge was filled with personnel and watchstanders ensuring the ship moved safely out of Dry Dock 6 and over to Pier Delta.

"It was pretty complex, because there were so many watchstanders on the bridge," said Quartermaster 2nd Class Brittany N. Addair, one of Navigation department's watchstanders during the ship's transit. "Actually pulling out was the most complicated part of the process. We needed GPS and visual fixes to know where we were at all times so we didn't hit anything."

Nimitz was assisted by a series of tugboats during its transit out of the dry dock and over to the pier. The tugs are especially important pulling out of the dry dock because they can maneuver the ship in ways that the ship itself can't.

Since Nimitz entered the dry dock, Navigation department couldn't exercise their regular duties aboard the ship. "It was a refresher for most of us and a big change for the new guys," said Addair. "The tugs helped pull us out and turn us. I'm just ready to get out of the dry dock and work on becoming operational again."

"I spent a lot of DPIA grinding store rooms, painting decks, and preparing spaces for going underway," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Garrett L. Davis, one of the many members tiger teams who worked around the clock to grind, paint, and restore many areas around the ship. "I'm proud of what we've accomplished. I learned a lot and I feel that the work we've done really fits into the big picture of being in the yards."

While at Pier Delta, Nimitz will finish final maintenance begin to prepare to become operational and go underway again. "As more and more areas become completed on board, we'll have to clean up and make the ship look like a naval warship again," said Jones. "As DPIA comes to a close, we'll transfer from a maintenance period to a training period. Each division will train on how to conduct underway operations and test equipment. Eventually we'll conduct dock trials, a fast cruise and finally sea trials." 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nimitz conducts General Quarters training while in dry dock

BREMERTON, WASH (NNS) -- USS Nimitz (CVN 68) conducted a General Quarters drill early morning Sept. 23 while in dry dock as part of move to shift from a maintenance-centric focus to one on operational readiness.

"We're at the important phase of transitioning from maintenance production to getting ready for our operational mission during our 2012 deployment," said Capt. Mike Donnelly, Nimitz' executive officer. "That's a step-by-step approach that we need to begin now. By deployment, we need to be fully mission capable, and by December, we need to be fully capable to support casualties underway."

Donnelly said Nimitz was in the early stages of mastering General Quarters, since as many as 1000 new personnel have come aboard since the ship entered dry dock in December 2010.

The purpose of the drill was to educate new personnel, refresh the proficiency of the veterans and ensure equipment worked properly.

"We have to dress out in four minutes or less," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate
(Handling) Airman Esther Gootee. "We have to put on the pants, rubber boots and jacket and make sure we have all of the proper equipment."

During General Quarters, many divisions and repair lockers conducted individual training sessions. Damage Controlman 3rd Class Martin Whitaker held training for boundarymen. "We focus on controlling and preventing the spread of the damage," he said. "The Sailors I taught received the training well. Participation is key, and the more you participate, the better the training is."

As the training pressed on, Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Daniel B. Bymer-Schultz and Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Walter ZaldaƱa from Air department's V-3 division simulated overhauling an aircraft fire. "It was pretty much refresher training," said Bymer-Schultz. "We did pretty well for not doing it for over a year. It all came back pretty easily and we received great training from senior personnel."

Even up until the drill was secured, V-3 division continued to press on with their training. Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class Anthony Fripp, the division's leading petty officer instructed the hose team on how to properly extinguish an aircraft fire. "It was rough, but they're coming along," he said. "We have a lot of new guys, so we have to train harder and more extensively." Fripp said this amount of training was necessary in preparation for getting underway again.

"The aspect of the drill I was most impressed with was the enthusiasm towards the safety of the crew and the ship," said Donnelly "We were able to accomplish all of the objectives, which is vitally important as we move towards more complex scenarios. We got good data points of where we are and where we need to go in terms of qualifications." 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

President Ford's Remarks at the USS NIMITZ Commissioning Ceremony

Gerald Ford
XXXVIII President of the United States: 1974-1977

Remarks at the USS Nimitz Commissioning Ceremony
Norfolk, Virginia - May 3, 1975

Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Distinguished Members of the Congress, Secretary Middendorf, Admiral Holloway, Admiral Cousins, Captain Compton, Mrs. Lay, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
At the outset, let me thank the Secretary of Defense for his more than generous comments, and let me simply reiterate the theme that he set forth. We are strong, we will continue to be strong, we will keep our commitments, and we will remain a great country.
As each of us looks upon this great ship, a single thought must seize our minds: Only the United States of America can make a machine like this. There is nothing like her in the world today. We have witnessed the magic moment when an intricate mass of steel and cable and sophisticated marvels of engineering suddenly become a living thing with a unique personality.
No matter how many commissionings you take part in, breaking the pennant and setting the first watch involves a special reward for all of us who love the sea and the United States Navy. I thank you very much, Captain Compton, and all of the ship's company for the privilege of being here.
The Nimitz is now a United States Ship. I congratulate all who helped build her and all who man her, as well as their loved ones who-as many of you know better than I-- will do a lot of waiting for the sake of our country and of freedom everywhere. Their allegiance and their service to the country is also in the very best tradition of this great Nation.
We all regret that Mrs. Chester W. Nimitz, St., cannot share this proud hour with all of us, but I am happy that Mrs. Lay and other members of the admiral's family are here. It is also gratifying to have Admiral Rickover here, for without these two farsighted submariners, Fleet Admiral Nimitz and Admiral Rickover, we would have no nuclear Navy.
Few of us remember that it was Admiral Nimitz, as he was completing his career as Chief of Naval Operations in 1947, who recommended to the then Secretary of the Navy that the Bureau of Ships and the new Atomic Energy Commission get together to design and to build a nuclear propulsion plant for a submarine. Admiral Rickover took it from there.
I see this great ship as a double symbol of today's challenging times. She is first of all a symbol of the United States, of our immense resources in materials and skilled manpower, of our inexhaustible energy, of the inventive and productive genius of our free, competitive economic system, and of our massive but controlled military strength.
Wherever the United States Ship Nimitz shows her flag, she will be seen as we see her now, a solid symbol of United States strength, United States resolve--made in America and manned by Americans. She is a movable part and parcel of our country, a self-contained city at sea plying the international waters of the world in defense of our national interests. Whether her mission is one of defense, diplomacy, or humanity, the Nimitz will command awe and admiration from some, caution and circumspection from others, and respect from all.
There is no need for me to dwell on the importance of aircraft carriers in today's and tomorrow's defense planning--though as an old carrier man myself, I might like that role. During recent days, I think it is worthy to note, we have seen the most convincing demonstration of their readiness and their flexibility in the successful execution of national policy.
Without the five aircraft carriers which served as the nucleus of our forces operating off South Vietnam, without the skill and the heroic performance of Marine Corps and naval aviation and support personnel, without the Air Force helicopter crews who operated from the carrier decks, we could not have rescued all of the remaining American citizens and thousands of endangered Vietnamese from Saigon within 20 hours. And I congratulate, on behalf of all of you, the work that was done on that occasion.
The Nimitz joins the fleet at an auspicious moment when our determination to strengthen our tics with allies across both great oceans and to work for peace and stability around the world requires clear demonstration. Along with our other forces worldwide, the Nimitz will make critically important contributions in our continuing quest for a peaceful planet, a planet whose surface is more than 70 percent ocean.
As I see the United States Ship Nimitz as a symbol of the vast power, the protective or productive skill and economic strength of America, so will others around the world. To all, this great ship is visible evidence of our commitment to friends and allies and our capability to maintain those commitments. But for Americans, especially, she is also a symbol of the man whose name she bears.
The grandson of a seafaring German immigrant, who grew up in the great State of Texas and never lost his pride in his native State, Chester W. Nimitz started from the smoke of Pearl Harbor and carried the fight to the enemy. His superb leadership and the valor of more than 2 million American fighting men culminated on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri 4 years later, as he signed the Japanese surrender as commander in chief of the largest naval armada ever assembled.
Looking back on a period of my own life, one of the things of which I am the proudest is that I can say, "I served under Admiral Nimitz in the Pacific."
As a lowly lieutenant on the U.S.S. Monterey, a carrier you could probably stow on the hangar deck of the Nimitz, I saw very little of fleet admirals during World War II. But every watch officer could recognize the crisp CINCPAC [Commander in Chief, Pacific] dispatches that Admiral Nimitz obviously had written in his own hand.
One biographer who did not know him--or who, I should say, did know him--Professor E. B. Potter of the Naval Academy, summed up Admiral Nimitz' qualities in simple words that well serve as a model for anyone who aspires to leadership in any line of endeavor. And I quote from Professor Potter: "He surrounded himself with the ablest men he could find and sought their advice, but he made his own decisions. He was a keen strategist who never forgot that he was dealing with human beings, on both sides of the conflict. He was aggressive in war without hate, audacious while never failing to weigh the risks."
Admiral Nimitz, of all the great American commanders of World War II, was one of the most self-effacing and, certainly, one of the most effective. He possessed great stamina, an abundance of common sense, and such immense inner strength that he felt no need to strut or to shout.
Born near what today we would call the poverty level, he worked hard, he studied hard, and was a long, long time getting ahead. He spent his whole life training to serve his country in commanding men at sea, and when he was needed, he was prepared. He learned by his mistakes and was tolerant of others, but he was always in command.
Those who had the good fortune to know Admiral Nimitz will say his fundamental honesty, intellectual honesty and integrity, enabled him to keep a steady course toward his ultimate objective without yielding to the tremendous pressures of his vast responsibilities. He did the job he was prepared to do, did it superbly, hung up his sword and filled his final years with quiet service to his country and to the cause of peace.
Repeatedly urged to write his wartime memoirs, Admiral Nimitz just as repeatedly refused. To do so, he explained, would compel him either to hurt the reputations of some fine shipmates or tell some whopping lies.
His own philosophy, in his own words, has long been a personal inspiration to me. Typically, he credited it to his seafaring grandfather. "The sea, like life itself is a stern taskmaster," he recalled. "The best way to get along with either is to learn all you can, then do your best, and don't worry--especially about things over which you have no control."
So, this great ship is a symbol of a great sea commander and a great American, one whose common virtues--magnified by the stern demands of duty--turned defeat into victory and made the broad Pacific again worthy of its name.
It is my determination to keep it that way, the way all oceans and all continents ought to be. But Fleet Admiral Nimitz and this fine ship both tell us that controlled strength is the sure guarantor of peace. Let us all--and particularly those who serve in the United States Ship Nimitz, now and hereafter-rededicate ourselves to this principle and to unstinting service to our country and to its people.
Good afternoon, and Godspeed.
Note: The President spoke at 11:44 a.m. at Pier 12 at the Norfolk Naval Air Station. In his opening remarks, he referred to J. William Middendorf II, Secretary of the Navy; Adm. James L. Holloway III, Chief of Naval Operations; Adm. Ralph W. Cousins, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Capt. Bryan W. Compton, Jr., commanding officer of the U.S.S. Nimitz; and Mrs. Catherine Lay, daughter of Fleet Admiral Nimitz.

Monday, September 19, 2011

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