NORFOLK, VA (NNS) -- USS Nassau (LHA 4) returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Va., after completing sea trials following an extensive maintenance availability at BAE Systems, Norfolk Ship Repair.
The six-month availability included major repairs to critical ship systems, including berthing areas, combat systems equipment upgrades and Nassau's boilers.
Nassau's engineering department worked many long hours in the weeks leading up to the ship's departure from the shipyard, successfully completing a light-off assessment (LOA) and bringing the boilers back online.
Lt. j.g. David Beaver, Nassau's main propulsion 2 division officer, said rectifying the boilers so the ship could leave under her own power was a challenge.
"Nassau's engineers worked long hours to get Nassau underway a week early," Beaver said. " Now we're entering a compressed training cycle so we can get back on the tip of the spear where our nation needs us."
Nassau's Training Officer Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Newbrough agreed but pointed out that there is a long road ahead before the ship is ready for the surge to the 4th Fleet area of focus later this year. He said the next step is to test Nassau's capabilities at sea.
"Once a ship enters the shipyard, many of the qualifications it possessed before must be re-certified to ensure mission readiness," Newbrough said. "Navigation equipment must be checked, and the boilers must be flexed with full power runs. There are steering and maneuvering tests that must be completed and radar and combat systems equipment must be tested and calibrated."
Newbrough added that in addition to certifying equipment, Nassau's Sailors must renew their qualifications as well.
Quartermaster 2nd Class (SW) Cody Keener said Nassau's navigation department invested numerous man hours training watch standers in simulators and classrooms before the ship got underway.
"A lot of training goes into getting all of the navigation systems up and running and preparing quartermasters to stand watch on the bridge," Keener said.
"We invested a lot of time and energy into training the department's newest members to ensure the sea trials went smoothly."
Nassau's air department is re-certifying along with ship's surface warriors, completing the ship's aviation facility certification during sea trials and gearing up for the aviation readiness qualification.
"I am very pleased to report Nassau's back and ready to get underway in support of our great country," said Capt. Ronald Reis, Nassau's commanding officer. "Also, I would like to recognize BAE Systems, Norfolk Naval Ship Repair and Nassau's Top Gator crew for all of their efforts in significantly improving Nassau's material condition and outward appearance. Nassau's sea trials went smoothly, and I expect nothing less from the aviation certifications."
Nassau brings diverse assets and capabilities, including two MH-60S Nighthawk search-and-rescue helicopters, four landing craft utility, a beachmaster unit, a disaster relief team, a fleet surgical team and a significant amount of water, food and other emergency relief supplies. She is also equipped with a 300-bed hospital, four medical operating rooms and three dental operating rooms.
For more news from USS Nassau, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha4/.