USS CAPE ST. GEORGE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors from deck division aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) spent a four-day port visit giving the ship a fresh coat of haze gray paint on the hull and refurbishing overboard discharges while in Manama, Bahrain, Feb. 6.
"The original plan was to sand, prime and paint all of the ship's overboard discharges - about 80 in total - but once we began, we decided to undertake the entire hull," said Ensign Tyler Benson, 1st lieutenant aboard Cape.
Without a paint float or lift to assist them, deck division began sanding and priming the overboard discharges using a pilot's ladder to hoist them over the side. They began shortly after mooring and worked late into the nights.
"This task was important because the running rust coming from these discharges was aging our ship and leaving noticeable stains," said Benson. "We didn't want to simply paint over the rust, which seems to happen all too often on these types of projects. We wanted to remove the rust and, more importantly, correct the source of the problem, the discharges. The goal with many of the preservation projects we undertake is to prolong the life of this ship. If we act now to preserve it, Cape can serve the fleet for many years to come."
Deck division personnel used die grinders, disc sanders, needle guns and gallons of paint and primer while working 12- to 13-hour days in port. They used a barge on the third day to make their work easier. To ensure maximum safety, the division coordinated with the ship's engineers to secure the discharges in large sections of the ship, area by area, as they worked.
Undertaking focused preservation projects like this one may prove even more vital in an aging fleet, said Chief Boatswain's Mate Loren Heaton.
"The work of Cape's deck division could serve as the example for other ships to follow in both topside and internal projects meant to prolong the lives of U.S. ships around the world," said Heaton.
Cape St. George is part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ALCSG), which includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 and embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, which includes the guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104). ALCSG is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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