Amphibious Assault Ship USS Kearsarge Completes LOA
Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) successfully completed its Light Off Assessment (LOA) Nov. 18, taking one step closer to finishing its four-month Phased Maintenance Availability (PMA) at BAE Systems Shipyard in Norfolk.
The assessment was conducted by Afloat Training Group Atlantic (ATG) and the Navy’s Inspection Team. The two teams were aboard for four days to test the ship’s engineering equipment and the crew’s ability to safely resume operations after the maintenance period.
The assessment was a total crew effort spearheaded by Kearsarge’s Engineering Department.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication our engineers have shown this week,” said Capt. Dorian F. Jones, USS Kearsarge commanding officer. “It is a testament to their commitment to getting the job done. They put in long hours, and we have asked a lot of them. Our success hinged on their performance. They came up big and did not disappoint.”
“The ATG inspectors were impressed with the work that had been done,” said Machinist’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Ramsey Comfort, Forward Main Machinery Room leading petty officer. “The work that the crew did will allow the Kearsarge to light the boilers a day earlier than expected.”
Preparing for LOA was also a team effort between the engineers, contractors and shipyard workers who worked together to complete jobs and ensure Kearsarge met deadlines.
“I have some of the best steam plant maintenance personnel in the Navy,” said Chief Machinist’s Mate (SW/AW) Hurdis Rodgers, Main Propulsion, leading chief petty officer. “They did an outstanding job. Their work and willingness to work with the contractors and shipyard workers are the reasons we were successful.”
Now that LOA is complete, Kearsarge lit off her Main Propulsion plants for the first time since June. Getting the watch standers back into the swing of things is now a priority.
“Getting watch standers to shift their mindset from maintenance to watch standing, is one of the biggest challenges we will face going forward,” said Rogers.
Less than two weeks from wrapping up its PMA, the crew is starting to shift its focus on the upcoming sea trials and returning to the fleet.
“The professionalism and enthusiasm displayed by the entire crew over the past four months has been unbelievable,” said Jones. “They have gone above and beyond to get Kearsarge ready to leave the shipyard. Bold Alligator 2012 is our next big high profile event, and I expect our Sailors to shine just as bright during that major amphibious exercise.”
Naval Today Staff , November 22, 2011; Image: navy