NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS San Antonio (LPD 17) went through its Board of Inspection and Survey, or INSURV, inspection Nov. 26-30 at Naval Station Norfolk.
This was the ship's third attempt to get past the inspection. The results, according to San Antonio Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Kurt Kastner, were extremely pleasing.
"The results of this INSURV were a win for San Antonio and the LPD-17 class in my opinion," Kastner beamed. "We were able to get underway and conduct every demonstration INSURV inspectors wanted to see."
The crew was equally excited about the results. Hull Technician 1st Class Walter Douglas, a plank owner of San Antonio, has been there from the beginning and is happy the ship has climbed and conquered this latest mountain.
"It's a relief," Douglas sighed. "After all the time spent trying to get systems completed and operating to specifications ... it's finally paid off. The plank owners, and the crew for that matter, have endured a lot from the press and general public about our ship. The crew as a whole never gave up and made it happen. We never lost our focus and performed in true San Antonio fashion," Douglas added.
More importantly, the crew has taken control of LPD-17.
"San Antonio Sailors proved they know their gear and have taken ownership of this ship. The crew has gained confidence in their ability to operate the equipment that will support them. I am incredibly proud of their accomplishments everyday," Kastner boasted.
Those everyday accomplishments include preparing for the big inspection.
"Our schedule made preparation very challenging," he explained. "Balancing all of our preparations over the Thanksgiving Day holiday period was another challenge. Leadership had to focus on providing the crew with what they needed to succeed. As INSURV Day One got closer, we focused on getting the ship ready to make the best possible first impression."
However, even the most prepared ship can run into hiccups along the way.
"No matter how much you prepare, Murphy will always show up and usually not at the most opportune moment," Kastner admitted. "I was concerned about that, but we were able to mitigate that somewhat by having a fall back plan and "chalk-talking" some of the "what-ifs."
The crew of San Antonio can breathe a sigh of relief now that INSURV is in their rearview mirror. But with this victory comes new challenges.
"Our focus for the New Year is taking on what we have learned about operating our equipment and applying that tactically. We will fully transition from tests and trials to single ship and strike group operations," Kastner concluded.
San Antonio is expected to deploy in 2008 as part of the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group.
For more news from USS San Antonio, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/lpd17/.