October 16, 2018 – Like a gentle giant the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) calmly rests at pier 14, Naval Station Norfolk. However, activity is bustling aboard the ship as Sailors work around the clock, performing maintenance in support of the ship’s pierside shipyard availability period.
“When an outsider looks at Abraham Lincoln from the pier, it can seem as though we are sitting stagnant,” said Cmdr. William Lane, Abraham Lincoln’s air boss. “But when you get down into the spaces and really look at all of the fantastic work being done by our Sailors, you gain an appreciation for how much time and dedication goes into the maintenance of this warfighting ship.”
This maintenance phase is designed to ensure Abraham Lincoln is capable of carrying out its mission. Successful completion of this four-month-long maintenance is imperative as Abraham Lincoln prepares for the upcoming Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and its scheduled deployment.
Sailors across the 20 departments of Abraham Lincoln are performing several preventative and corrective maintenance activities during this availability period. Reactor, Engineering and Air are some of the larger departments that play a crucial role during Abraham Lincoln’s maintenance period.
Reactor Department oversees the propulsion system that will carry the ship away from land as it departs for future at-sea evolutions.
“We are currently engaging in major valve and piping repairs for our systems,” said Senior Chief Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) Scotty Hunziker, Abraham Lincoln’s assistant reactor maintenance officer. “This maintenance will aid in the proper function of steam, electrical, air pressure and propulsion structures. These power structures provide energy to operate the vast majority of shipboard equipment.”
Energy sources provided by Reactor Department power many pieces of equipment that Engineering Department oversees and operates.
Many divisions such as Damage Control, Repair, Electrical and Auxiliary form Engineering Department. These divisions are completing numerous jobs in support of Abraham Lincoln’s pierside shipyard availability period.
Auxiliary Division is repairing the ship’s vertical conveyers. These conveyers transport items above and below decks when material is taken aboard during underway replenishments. Additionally, Auxiliary Division is preparing one of the ship’s aircraft elevators to be rewired and tested, so that it may continue to enable flight operations at sea with a fully embarked air wing.
“When we are at sea, it is essential to mission success that all of our systems are working properly,” said Senior Chief Machinist Mate James Woodruff, a leading chief petty officer in Auxiliary Division. “All Engineering divisions are doing their part to complete shipwide maintenance checks and repairs during this period.”
Air Department’s pierside maintenance also helps Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG 12) and Carrier Air Wing 7 conduct safe and effective flight operations while underway. Some of Air Department’s upkeep activities include performing maintenance on the ship’s catapult hydraulics and arresting gear, which help aircraft land safely on the flight deck.
“We are strategically carrying out a carefully timed maintenance schedule,” said Lane. “It is vital that we complete both preventative and corrective maintenance in a way that will provide the maximum benefit. This way equipment will sustain reliability for long underway periods. Aircraft launch and recovery systems experience a lot of wear during use, so it is important we prepare our equipment for the stress it will incur during deployment.”
As equipment maintenance is carried out across the ship, Sailors are simultaneously receiving training pierside to enhance operational readiness.
“This maintenance phase also provides Abraham Lincoln a period of time in port that we can use to train our Sailors,” said Woodruff. “I have sent several Sailors to training that they can use to advance their skill set. This provides a major benefit to our Sailors and to our ship’s mission capabilities.”
Operational success can be achieved by educating the crew and maintaining material readiness. Abraham Lincoln’s pierside shipyard availability period will provide a mission-ready vessel and crew to support in the continued effort to build upon CSG 12’s warfighting readiness.
“For our Sailors to know that they have completed a significant amount of maintenance in a short period of time is a proud accomplishment,” said Hunziker. “There is a lot of pride in hard work. That accomplishment will be a great boost for morale as we prepare for COMPTUEX.”
The cohesive effort of all departments aboard Abraham Lincoln will aid in a successful deployment. This display of group effort is a great representation of the CSG 12 team-of-teams approach.