ABOARD USS JOHN C STENNIS (NNS) -- USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returned to Bremerton, Wash., July 18, after a seven-week underway period jammed with an assortment of tests, inspections and qualifications.
Stennis was certified surge ready, meaning the ship will have to maintain a high state of readiness in case of an unscheduled deployment directed by Commander, Carrier Strike Group 3, Rear Adm. Kevin M. Quinn.
Stennis' to-do list rivaled anything she has done since coming out of a docked planned incremental availability during 2005.
"Adm. Quinn could not be more proud of our performance during every portion of our underway, and I agree big time," said Stennis' Commanding Officer, Capt. Bradley Johanson.
To begin the underway, Stennis underwent a week-long combat systems ship's qualification trial (CSSQT), which included the test firing of the ship's Close-in Weapons System (CIWS), NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System (NSSMS) and the new Rolling Airframe Missile system (RAM). All the tests were completed successfully.
"We really did hammer this off flawlessly," said Johanson, referring to the successful completion of the CSSQT.
The ship's next evaluation was a tailored ship's training availability (TSTA), a three-part test that scrutinized the ship's training teams and their ability to train and assess the crew. Stennis received the second highest score on TSTA during the past two-year fleet training cycle.
"Damage control repair parties, made up of more than 850 personnel assigned to repair lockers and to the Flying Squad, drilled to near perfection and received high praise from the inspectors," commented Stennis' Damage Control Assistant, Lt. Cmdr. William O'Connor.
In the middle of TSTA, Stennis pulled into San Diego, and for the first time, picked up recently assigned Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, who remained aboard performing flight operations throughout the rest of TSTA. At near deployment capacity, Stennis completed TSTA while supporting the air wing.
The next two inspections came after a second visit to San Diego, where Stennis dropped off CVW-9 and picked up training squadrons for routine carrier qualifications. Stennis flew more than 1,500 flight operations during CVW-9's embarkation.
The ship received the highest score to date in its supply management inspection (SMI), an inspection that tested supply department's readiness in areas such as quality assurance and aviation support, and evaluated its services such as food and disbursing.
Stennis' Food Service Officer, Chief Warrant Officer Ernesto Garcia, said the supply inspection is probably the toughest inspection supply department will go through. Garcia said he was very confident in his crew and the fact they know they're constantly under inspection.
Immediately following Stennis' completion of SMI, Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) awarded six on-the-spot Navy Achievement Medals and 20 CNAF coins to Stennis personnel for their performance during the inspection.
The ship's last major inspection was its maintenance and material management (3M) inspection, which included a comprehensive administrative review of the ship's 3M practices, as well as practical testing of the ship's preventive and corrective maintenance procedures.
"Since JCS is [Quinn's] centerpiece, his flagship and most powerful warship, it is very important to him we achieve full combat readiness," said Johanson.
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