PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) spent the final days of its nine-month stay in Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton completing its official "fast cruise" June 23-25, in preparation for the ship's long-awaited departure and return to sea June 26.
The fast cruise was Lincoln's last training simulation before getting underway. According to Lt. John Brady, assistant strike operations officer, the intent was to minimize the effect of shipyard work on board, and have the full focus of Lincoln's crew.
"Fast cruising certainly helps the commanding officer identify any weaknesses within the watch teams, within the administrative paperwork and timing of watch stations being manned," Brady said. "It lets people know what to do and where to go prior to actually getting underway."
Eight weeks of overnight, simulated-underway periods prior to the fast cruise included scenarios to make best use of the crew's time for training while the ship was still undergoing maintenance.
"All the things we've been drilling on are very perishable skills," said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Byrne, training officer. "Not just in the grand scheme of us being in the shipyards and not at sea for nine months, but even on a week-to-week basis. There are lots of opportunities for people to get complacent."
The simulations have also proved useful by giving some Sailors a chance to gain more hands-on experience with shipboard procedures and equipment used while underway.
"Because of the fact that we've been in the shipyards for so long, we probably have about a third of the crew that's never been out to sea on this ship before," Byrne said. "Everybody's been to fire-fighting school, they've got the book knowledge. Now it's time to put that book knowledge to practice."
Lincoln's stay in Naval Base Kitsap not only prepared the ship for sea, but also prepared the crew for sea with several general quarters, man overboard, abandon ship, propulsion plant casualty drills, and fire drills. Whether in port or at sea, the crew is being tested to identify their strengths and what improvements can be made.
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