SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Expeditionary Strike Group THREE (ESG-3), alongside Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC) Code-263 division, hosted main reduction gear (MRG) training at the Naval Base San Diego movie theater June 5.
A significant shortfall in the understanding of MRG, its major component maintenance and operations have caused significant material readiness problems Fleet wide. Despite type commander guiding principles driving the Fleet toward strict procedural compliance, ships have experienced multiple self-inflicted MRG casualties. These incidents have cost the Fleet millions of dollars, forced ships to miss invaluable training opportunities and left them unable to complete combatant commander tasking.
In response to this issue, ESG-3, NAVSEA and SWRMC put together waterfront training focused at engineering leadership and maintenance persons in order to raise the level of knowledge of the Navy’s engineers.
“It’s very important that we as Naval Engineers understand how important our main reduction gears are to the Navy’s overall mission,” said Capt. Robert Bailey, ESG-3 N4 assistant chief of staff for logistics and readiness. “Bottom line, the ship will not move from the pier if one of the ship’s main reduction gears is out of commission.”
Shipboard engineers must understand the importance of maintaining this vital piece of equipment in accordance with all engineering directives in order to meet Fleet tasking.
“As we move from our legacy systems into what is expected in our 5th generation ships, we as good stewards must maintain our equipment as best as possible,” said Bailey. “All too often we rely on industry to maintain and fix our problems, instead we as ship’s engineers must become self-sufficient and keep the shafts turning so the ship is ready to do our nation’s work.”
There has been a dramatic increase in MRG casualties across the waterfront and most of these casualties could have been avoided according to Noel Tolentino, a SWRMC Code-263 division engineering technician.
“I believe that this much-need training will provide engineers a better understanding,” said Tolentino. “Not just on how to maintain the MRG and the associated components, but also give them a big picture on what’s being done by the engineering technical community to help resolve these deficiencies.”
The purpose of the MRG is to convert high-speed, low-torque of the engine to low-speed, high-torque of the propeller shaft. Without the critical linkage, the ship would be unable to move through the water, thus leave the ship unable to execute required tasking.
The pieces of MRG, including the dehydrator, require strict adherence to procedures when performing maintenance on them or while ensuring the equipment is operating within specific parameters.
The training session covered the theory and operation of major components of the MRG system to include the dehumidifier and vent fog precipitator. Additionally, the training addressed physical security of the gear as well as past MRG casualties and causes.
“The purpose of MRG physical security is to prevent, deter and detect unauthorized access to MRG internals,” said Tolentino. “Whenever the MRG case is open for inspection or repairs, extreme care must be observed to prevent foreign objects from entering. This includes establishing a clean area around the opening and having each person entering the space to sign in and out.”
By raising the Fleet’s level of knowledge, this training will enhance material readiness and maintenance funding will be saved through the prevention of further costly casualties.
“Adm. J.R. Jellicoe from the Battle of Jutland said ‘the preparation of the engineering department is the prelude to battle,’” said Bailey. “Competency, confidence and self-sufficiency are our goals for our Fleet.”
ESG-3 comprises three amphibious squadrons, eight naval support elements and 15 amphibious warships comprised of more than 15,000 active-duty and reserve Sailors and Marines. The mission of ESG-3 is to serve as the command element for Marine expeditionary brigade-level expeditionary operations as commander of an amphibious task force.
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For more news from Expeditionary Strike Group 3, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/esg3/.
For more news from Expeditionary Strike Group 3, visit www.navy.mil/local/esg3/.