USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Supply Department on board Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) set a new standard of Navywide excellence by earning the highest recorded score for retail operations during the ship's supply management inspection (SMI) Dec. 15.
The Supply Department Sailors earned the highest recorded score of 99.3 for retail operations and an overall score of 93.26 on the SMI.
SMI, held every 18 months, inspects the ship's Supply Department's ability to carry out the mission. Every aspect of the Supply Department is heavily scrutinized. From logs to training to cleanliness to service ability, the inspection ensures and certifies the department's ability to support the strike group's needs.
Cmdr. Ken Epps, Vinson's supply officer, observed an apt timing of the inspection with the ship's current operations.
"This is kind of our composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), which ensures all our key business areas in Supply can turn around and support the strike group when we go on cruise," said Epps.
The three-day inspection checks the proper way of operating the 13 supply divisions. While ships are usually in a regular at-sea operational status, Epps explained the distinctive challenge Carl Vinson's crew faced.
"Obviously we were unique in this situation because we've been in refueling complex overhaul. The last time Carl Vinson had a supply management inspection was in 2005," Epps said.
Carl Vinson's Supply Department met the challenge head-on, welcoming the opportunity to prove their department's prowess at mission execution.
"It's basically 48 hours of grilling on everything we do day in and day out," chuckled Lt. Cmdr. Jack Tan, Vinson's assistant supply officer. "It started from noon Dec. 13 and ended last night (Dec. 14) at 9 p.m."
Preparing for the thorough inspection required action taken well in advance of departing San Diego.
"There was a lot of upkeep to spaces before SMI. A lot of long hours, hard work and paying attention to detail," said S-3 Division's Leading Chief Petty Officer Senior Chief Ship's Serviceman (SW/AW) Hector Quiroga.
The contributions to SMI's success did not begin and end with Supply Department Sailors. Master Chief Logistics Specialist (AW/SW) Gil Ermitano, Supply Department's leading chief petty officer, cited the "one team, one fight" mentality as a key element.
"The engineers were fixing the equipment that we use in the galley and ship's laundry and the barber shop. You name it they were there to support us. All the departments and squadrons supported us. I can't name a single department or squadron that didn't help us," said Ermitano.
Epps remarked on the SMI inspectors' notice of Carl Vinson's strong support of Supply Department.
"The SMI inspector was impressed and surprised the captain came on and discussed Supply Department and what we were going through. Not a lot of ships do that. A lot of times, we operate in the background and you don't always get that visible support from the chain of command," said Epps. "They understand how important it is for us to do what we do well so the rest of the ship can do well."
With SMI complete, Epps emphasized the importance and rewards of maintaining the standard set on a daily basis.
"I hope my Sailors take away the lesson that you will be rewarded because you've put in the right amount of work and you've made the sacrifices. You work exceptionally hard, but you also work exceptionally smart," said Epps.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.