JULY 26, 2021 – Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 7, with support from Ship Repair Facility (SRF), Japan Regional Maintenance Facility (JRMC) detachment Sasebo, is setting the standard for maintenance and readiness throughout the fleet.
With the Navy’s Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP), ships must complete planned maintenance and training as scheduled. This can become a challenge for the Navy’s forward-deployed ships across the globe as their mission sets are often complex in nature.
Despite the complications caused by COVID-19, SRF-JRMC detachment Sasebo and the mine countermeasures ships on the waterfront have successfully completed three dry-docking selected restricted availabilities on time or earlier. USS Warrior (MCM 10), USS Chief (MCM 14) and USS Pioneer (MCM 9) also completed depot-level availabilities and were delivered to the fleet ready to commence basic phase training, the first part of a ship’s certification and deployment cycle after a scheduled maintenance period.
“It took diligent planning, resourcefulness, and teamwork on everyone’s part to get these ships back in the water and ready for training. I am appreciative to the SRF-JRMC team, our industry partners and the ships’ crews for taking ownership and getting the job done,” said Cmdr. Mollie Bily, SRF-JRMC Det. Sasebo’s officer in charge “The constant hard work of the SRF-JRMC team ensures the fleet out here in Sasebo stays maintained and ready.”
During these intense availabilities, maintenance was done to main propulsion systems including the main reduction gears, diesel generators, diesel engines, and rudders. Additionally, the shafting was removed and re-insulated on all three platforms.
According to Bily, maintenance and repairs to Pioneer, Chief, and Warrior were valued at more than $31.4 million and required 46,870 man-days of maintenance, modernization and repairs. The SRF-JRMC Det. Sasebo’s project teams and production shop jointly managed and executed each repair professionally, all the way down to the wooden decks.
“It is a team effort by both the ship, the port engineer, and the project team at SRF to ensure that the ship completes the avail and is ready to commence Basic Phase on time. Ownership of the repair process, attention to detail, and foresight to identify potential issues are crucial for getting a ship through the yards,” said Capt. Scott Hattaway, Commodore, MCMRON 7. “As forward-deployed forces, our Sailors remain focused on ensuring the ships are operational and ready for tasking at all times.”
In the past year the ships of MCMRON 7 have executed seven bilateral mine warfare exercises with the Republic of Korea Navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, and completed the integrated Mine Warfare Certification with one of the highest grades achieved in the last five years.
“Getting the Avenger class into and out of complex maintenance availabilities is the critical enabler to their certifications and overall warfighting readiness,” said Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7. “I am continuously impressed with what our MCM crews alongside Commander Bily and the SRF team have accomplished so we can meet our mission here in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.”
Additional accomplishments of the MCMRON 7 units over the past year include the 2020 Pacific Fleet Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Award (Pioneer), the 2020 Logistics Readiness Excellence Award, and the 2020 Chief of Naval Operations Afloat Safety Award (Chief), and Lt. Benjamin Pedersen, Patriot’s navigator, earning the Surface Navy’s Junior Ship Handler of the Year Award.
Part of Expeditionary Strike Group 7, MCMRON 7 is forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, and conducts integrated mine countermeasure operations using air, surface, and explosive ordnance disposal assets in both exercise and regional conflict scenarios throughout the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
Story by Lt. Cmdr. Sherrie A Flippin
Commander, Mine Countermeasures Squadron SEVEN