PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- While undergoing maintenance during a Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va., USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) had the honor of welcoming aboard two distinguished visitors Nov. 3.
Capt. Mark A. Hugel, commander, Norfolk Naval Shipyard and Jerrold L. Miller, president of Earl Industries, LLC, a company specializing in maintenance, alterations and refurbishment of U.S. Navy and commercial vessels checked on maintenance progress, and addressed Sailors and shipyard workers at an all hands Captain's Call.
"We, as contractors, have the greatest amount of respect for the ship, ship's force and all the people out there doing what we help prepare them to do," said Miller.
Hugel and Miller, both 1977 graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy, extended praise to the Sailors and shipyard workers for teaming together and their continuous efforts in making HST surge capable by the end of PIA.
"We've learned over a long time, with ship after ship coming through the shipyards, that there's a couple of ways to get through a shipyard period. One is to fuss and fight, the other is to work together as a team. It's very clear that from the time HST delivered from the shipyard last time until coming back into a yard period this time, that this group of people has come together and continued to work together with the same kind of teamwork we saw during HST's first yard period," said Hugel.
After the Captain's Call, Hugel and Miller shared their thoughts about the present and future state of HST under the new Fleet Response Plan.
"To be in a position to respond as part of the Fleet Response Plan, it's required that we have a plan to get HST's scheduled PIA done that's better than ever before. We've seen constant and repeated requests for help from other ships in a surge status that need to be able to respond. So, we've had to make decisions about how to best respond to their work, knowing that those decisions, if we're not careful, will have an impact on our ability to get HST done," said Hugel.
According to Miller, despite being four-and-a-half days behind schedule due to Hurricane Isabel, contractors have still been able to meet the needs of the other ships, as well as HST's.
While other ships get the attention they need, plans are already being made for the next time HST enters the shipyard.
"We're trying to do a better job of predicting maintenance that needs to be done," said Hugel. "Part of helping us build a better plan to accomplish the maintenance is the teamwork that exists between the crew and the shipyard from the time HST delivered last time until the time it came back. It's allowed us to communicate back and forth, so that if the guys on the ship are having difficulties, we can get the right kind of assistance."
Miller also said that shipyard contractors are helping by earning contracts earlier to facilitate the planning process.
"In the past, we'd bid on a contract and find out we were awarded the contract a week before it started," Miller said. "Now they're trying to award us contracts so we have a couple of months to work with the shipyard planner to know what's out there so that we can hit the deckplates running."
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75.