NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The non-watertight door team aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is nearing 100 percent completion of the reinstallation of the ship's 1,562 non-tight doors, which the team has been working to achieve since March 2010.
Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW) Eric Petrone, Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class (AW) Malachi Bassett, Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class (AW/SW) Mathew Walker, and Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class (AW) Adam Johnson have all been a part of the team from the start, and have each had a hand in the removal, restoring, and installing of the ship's doors.
"We are in charge of completing all the non-tight doors on the ship," explained Petrone, the non-tight door team's leading petty officer. "We take a door off and send it over to the ship's Light Industrial Facility (LIFAC) and they repair it - strip it down, paint it, weld it - whatever needs to be done. That takes about two weeks. Then, we store it at the warehouse until we need to install it."
In JanUARY 2011, Petrone and his team began reinstalling doors aboard TR as refurbished spaces started coming back online.
"Once people began requesting doors, we started installing them then," said Petrone. "When we install a door, it typically takes anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. At one point we were doing 20 doors a week. Now we're down to three or four doors a week."
According to Petrone, there are 1,562 non-tight doors on the ship. Since the refurbishment process began, the non-tight door team has reinstalled over 95 percent of the overhauled doors.
"In the beginning we did so much in a short period of time that we now only have 66 doors left," said Johnson.
The temporary services and ventilation systems that may run through the door frames can sometimes prevent the proper alignment of latches and hinges.
"This was probably our biggest challenge along the way," said Petrone. "We can't install a door until [the temporary systems] are gone, because everything has to line up."
In addition to obstructed door frames, other obstacles were encountered along the way.
"The hinges with 25 years of corrosion were difficult to take off nicely, so we have to give them some motivation with our 'master keys' - also known as a hammer and impact driver. Over time we've perfected our methods and it has gotten easier," said Johnson.
After over two and a half years of taking down doors and putting them back up, and with project completion in sight, Johnson said he has developed an appreciation for his team's accomplishment.
"It's crazy. You really don't get the full perspective until you walk around the ship and look at all the non-tight doors and realize, 'we did all this,'" he said. "Every door that you see and every door that you walk through every day is a door we've worked on."
TR is in its last year of Refueling Complex Overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding. Thanks to efforts of the non-tight door team, TR is moving closer to rejoining the fleet.
"These guys are awesome," praised Petrone. "They work really hard and I'm proud of them."
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