Vinson Zone Managers Push for Excellence in Shipyard

Story Number: NNS080604-20Release Date: 6/4/2008 9:23:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Philip Schrickel, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors attached to the zone management team aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) are playing a critical role this June in preparing the aircraft carrier for the upcoming crew move aboard evolution and return to operational status.

Zone managers consist of a handful of senior petty officers who oversee smaller portions of the ship's outfitting and grooming efforts, and ensure that ship's force personnel are coordinating efforts with their shipyard counterparts at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard.

According to Master Chief Engineman (SW/AW) Nick Teichs, Engineering department's leading chief petty officer, the zone management team is the middlemen between ship's force, contractors and NGNN workers, deconflicting schedules, and tracking production. He contends that the most important characteristic the zone managers possess is flexibility.

"As we grew into the RCOH, we've had to basically make up our way ahead," said Teichs. "Though we have a plan and we try to think of everything, there are always things like unplanned or emergent repairs. This command is setting a benchmark for future carrier availabilities. It is indicative of our reputation because right now we are on schedule and on budget. And this is all because of what the zone managers do for our team."

For those Sailors assigned to Vinson's Zone management team, they understand their efforts to coordinate the aircraft carrier's massive overhaul are critical to mission success.

"The Zone Management crew is dedicated to getting the job accomplished the right way, and on time, so the ship can be ready to meet its mission," said Chief Information Systems Technician (SW/AW) Victor Freeman, who leads the Vinson Zone Management team. "We take a total teamwork effort across the project team in accomplishing our mission."

Key to the success for Carl Vinson's Zone Managers has been coordinating shipboard-space restoration efforts in phases. Vinson is restoring shipboard spaces by a zonal approach, which allows the ship's project team to concentrate efforts in one area, then progress to others in measured increments.

"We began in the aft end of the ship and we're working our way forward," said Freeman." "This approach helps make our efforts achievable, and will allow us to leave the shipyard on time."

USS Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.

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