FEBRUARY 21, 2019, Newport News, VA – Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) is a marathon, not a sprint, which is why it takes not only the ship’s force, shipyard workers, and contractors to get the work done, but also contractors and shipyard workers to and bring an aircraft carrier back to life for 25 more years of service.
The crew of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), Training and production. Capt. Glenn Jamison, the commanding officer of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) has repeatedly stated that these are his two main priorities while George Washington is undergoing refueling complex overhaul (RCOH).
George Washington’s crew has made significant strides in the production aspect since arriving to Newport News Shipyard in August, 2017. This is becoming more and more evident with the refurbishment of the ship’s spaces, a task that is significant vital in returning the ship to an operational status.
“It is important to recognize this work because these junior Sailors, most of whom this is their first command, did not join the Navy to be in an overhaul environment,” said Lt. Joal Fischer, from Newark, New Jersey, and an operations department division officer assigned to George Washington. “The work they complete is not glamorous, however it is necessary for this ship to complete its mission. I want to highlight their contributions because it often gets overlooked.”
The preventative maintenance (PM) teams aboard George Wahington work in conjunction with one another to complete the various steps in overhauling the ship’s spaces. PM 11 (bBerthing tTeam), PM 12 (pPaint tTeam), and PM 13 (dDeck tTeam) each play an important role in making the ship habitable again.
“Our PM teams have just completed work on the 03-235-3-L berthing,” said Fischer. “03-235-5-L is slated to be a berthing for the Inport Emergency Team (IET) when the ship reaches its undocking milestone, May 11, 2019. The ship will not be attached to the FAF [(floating accommodation facility]) , therefore rapid response teams will need to be berthed on the ship to accommodate a timely response to emergencies.”
RCOH is the most intricate shipyard availability that George Washington will undergo during its service life. Even though every evolution of RCOH is mapped out well in advance, Sailors are encouraged to work ahead of their schedules.
“On time may be good for some people, but we like to stay ahead“We’re always somewhere between three and four months ahead of schedule ,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Bryant Aimour from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and a PM 11 team leader. “On time may be good for some people, but we like to stay ahead. Whenever one team completes their berthing, they will go help another team. We’re constantly helping each other out. I think that’s a part of the reason that we’re able to stay ahead of schedule. Our leadership gives us compliments all the time, but to us we’re just doing our job. We appreciate the recognition, but our progression is a testament to how we all work as a cohesive unit.”
While the larger projects of RCOH such as refueling the nuclear reactors, installing new aviation equipment, and hull work may get a majority of the recognition, it is important to not understate the value of the work done by George Washington’s PM teams.
“If you can’t live on the ship, you can’t take it out to sea,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Robert Ickes from Los Angeles,, California and a PM- 11 team leader. “We’re pretty much looking out for everyone who’s going to be going out on underways and deployments on this ship in the future. Going out to sea can be tough. If you don’t have to worry about your light not working or your locker not being able to be locked, and you have a nice rack that was just built, that’s a nice little additive to make your time out to sea a little smoother.”
A clean, overhauled compartment is a positive morale booster that instills pride in the owning workcenter and all of the members who participated in accomplishing work within the space. While berthing spaces are not often highlighted under the RCOH upgrades, these compartments are essential to the ship’s mission. As the ship reaches the undocking milestone and progresses forward toward completion of the overhaul, berthings and office spaces will be critical to CVN-73 George Washington regaining operational status and contributing to the Navy’s global presence.
Story by Seaman Steven Young
USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73)