NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- After spending 44 months in Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard for a major mid-life Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) successfully completed Crew Certification Phase II Nov. 16 and is now certified ready for sea.
The crew was inspected by Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMNAVAIRLANT) and Afloat Training Group (ATG) staff.
Years of hard work and preparation led up to ensuring Ike was ready for the inspectors to come aboard and recertify them to operate safely at sea.
"Crew Certification is a process designed for ships that have been in the yards for quite some time," said Lt. David Pearson, assistant team leader. "Essentially, the ship got put back together. Ike is coming back from a major overhaul, and we are here to make sure the ship can go back to sea safely."
The goal was simple: to determine and report Ike's fitness, readiness and material conditions that might limit her capability to carry out assigned missions. The findings of these inspections are invaluable to determine the occupational safety and health status of the ship.
Crew certification is a three-stage process. The final stage, Phase II, was the process by which the Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC), COMNAVAIRLANT, ensured the ship is combat ready to proceed safely to sea with a trained and qualified crew.
"The initial visit was to assess training records and administration," said Pearson. "The second time on board was to clean up and verify everything is where it should be. The final phase was to observe the watchstanders to make sure they are standing the watch correctly, so Ike can get out safely. Then everything is reviewed so that Ike can return to the fleet. Ike did a great job in preparing for this."
Ike Sailors came together to prove they are ready for sea. They endured rigorous testing and drills, from simulated steering and engineering casualties to simulated loss of gyrocompass and simulated anchoring. The crew proved their damage control knowledge in the event of an actual casualty and structural damage to the ship. Staying positive, motivated and in control, IKE Sailors exemplified determination to be combat ready.
"Seeing the crew in action in the past validated any question of their ability to go out to sea," said Lt. Cmdr. Hui Pak, Ike's training officer. "Everything they trained for was used and put to the test during the last phase of Crew Certification."
"Ike superseded every expectation," said Capt. Charles Smith, Ike's commanding officer. "Ike Sailors have demonstrated their exceptional standards, unity and superior ability to steam and fight their ship. I am very proud of their accomplishments and very happy to have the crew certify ready for sea in such style."
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69.