Nassau Hull Maintenance Technicians Take Pride in Dirty Jobs

Story Number: NNS080410-11Release Date: 4/10/2008 9:07:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st (SW) Class Charmin Covington, USS Nassau Public Affairs

USS NASSAU, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Nassau's (LHA 4) hull maintenance technicians are some of the hardest working Sailors aboard the ship, but much of their best work goes unseen.

They are responsible for the ship's sewer system, hull structure and piping systems. People seldom notice pipes that don't leak and toilets that always work properly. Nassau has 198 toilets aboard. Hull maintenance technicians take care of every one of them. They are the ones who keep the piping systems clear.

One of their biggest jobs is taking care of the collection holding and transfer tanks. This is where the ship's sewage is stored until it is processed and discharged to the sea.

Chief Hull Maintenance Technician (SW) Gary Nixon has been aboard a year and is impressed with his Sailors. His division also includes damage controlmen, responsible for Nassau's damage control and firefighting systems.

He said he sometimes asks the impossible from them and they still come through.

"My Sailors support the entire command, even when the command is unaware of their involvement," Nixon said.

Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Robert Wilcox, has been aboard the longest out of the nine Sailors in his shop. While underway, the shop has done major steam repairs in the forward and aft engine rooms.

"The ship is steam driven and without it, the ship wouldn't move," Wilcox said. "Not everyone can be a hull maintenance technician. It's not a pretty job and takes hard work and dedication to the Navy to do what we do."

A major part of the job is welding, the repair division is responsible for nearly everything made of metal on the ship. Every piece of machinery had to be welded to the deck.

In recent months, Nassau's hull maintenance technicians installed four new self-serve clothes washing machines, three new steam presses in ship's laundry and new candy machines on the ship's mess deck.

The workcenter has 200 trouble calls at any given time. They normally complete four to five of them a day. Like most Sailors, they stand watches in addition to working in their technical field. Unlike most Sailors, they are all on the ship's fire party.

Nassau's hull maintenance technicians perform a vital role in daily operations, toiling away in the bowels of the ship. When everything flushes and flows as designed, they've done their job.

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