USS NEW ORLEANS, At Sea (NNS) -- USS New Orleans (LPD 18) hosted several prospective commanding officers (PCOs) and prospective executive officers (PXOs) during its recent underway trial period.
The PCOs and PXOs were part of the inaugural Senior Officer Ship Maintenance and Repair Course (SOSMRC), which began Jan. 4 at Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, R.I.
SOSMRC is an updated version of a 13-week course that was offered in the 1980s and 1990s. The course is focused on providing PCOs with core knowledge and skills such as damage control procedures and equipment operation, material self-assessment and shipboard safety requirements, to be better prepared for their upcoming command.
"In order to maintain ships for their entire service life, this hands-on training is crucial for prospective commanders," said Lt. Cmdr. Chuck Jones, SOSMRC student and PXO of USS Green Bay (LPD 20). "We need to maintain, preserve and keep up our ships."
SOSMRC has nearly 30 PCOs/PXOs attending and will host approximately 140 students a year.
"This was a much-needed return to the curriculum," said Jones. "In this fiscal environment, it's important that we refocus on maintaining ships to their full 40-plus year expected lifespan."
The PCOs and PXOs who visited USS New Orleans spent three days observing every aspect of ship's maintenance, from flight deck preservation efforts to quality control maintainers in the main spaces. Most of them will be taking command of similar ships, so the processes they observed would be nearly identical to what they will have on their own ships.
"The crew, chief's mess and wardroom on New Orleans have been tremendous," said Jones. "They answered all my questions and really gave me a good understanding of their maintenance processes."
New Orleans, a San Antonio-class ship, has a state-of-the-art command and control suite, substantially increased vehicle lift capacity, a large flight deck and advanced ship survivability features that enhance its ability to operate in the unforgiving littoral environment.
For more news from USS New Orleans (LPD 18), visit www.navy.mil/local/lpd18/.