Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) hosted more than 20 crew members from USS Carl M. Levin (PCU 120) for land based shipboard operational training from Oct. 25 through Nov. 19, 2021 to ensure that the Sailors were sufficiently prepared for eventual sail-away, Hull, Mechanical & Electrical (HM&E) onboard testing support, final contract trials, and future deployment.
Named after Carl Milton Levin, a former Michigan United States senator serving from 1979 until 2015, and commanded by Cmdr. Kelly Kraft, USS Carl M. Levin is tentatively set to be commissioned in February 2023.
NSWCPD’s Land Based Engineering Test Site (LBES) provides four weeks of real-world ship operations experience for every DDG 51 new construction vessel for roughly two to three ships each year, explained Charles Gilligan, a test engineer for LBES.
According to Gilligan, this training typically begins with software-based instruction with the Sailors learning about shipboard equipment then simulating the starting and stopping of engines. At the end of their training, Sailors transition to operating live on a hot plant to troubleshoot equipment faults and perform preventative maintenance.
LBES simulates common scenarios that Sailors may encounter on their ship.
“You can’t do all circumstances. Some of the fault insertions are some of the most common faults they’re going to see. There’s nowhere else where they will be able to operate the plant live,” said Gilligan.
One of the simulations used to train the crew involved the process of giving electrical power to the ship. The three roles needed to conduct this simulation were performed by Petty Officer 1st Class Brigham Snowden,on the Electrical Plant Control Console (EPCC); Petty Officer 1st Class Julie Sesmas, Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW); and Petty Officer 1st Class Jake Sorares, the Propulsion Plant Operator (PAC).
After four weeks of training Cmdr. Kelly felt his crew became more proficient in their tasks shipboard.
“[NSWCPD’s] Land Based Engineering School provided exactly what our engineering team needed, uninterrupted time operating. Over the course of four weeks Carl M. Levin’s engineering team received gas turbine engine and auxiliary systems hands-on training,” said Kelly. “We mastered up-to-date computer operating software, performed mechanical and electrical evolutions and drills, and learned troubleshooting for one of the most sophisticated electrical distribution systems installed in ships.”
“As a direct result of the outstanding training the crew received, they are better prepared to drive, operate, and repair our ship ensuring we remain ‘Tenacious in the Fight’,” he added.
Levin, who held office in Michigan from 1979 until 2015, was the state’s longest serving U.S Senator. He also served as the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and during his term Levin was instrumental in the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars.