BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- As of March, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) (Abe) has a new paint job thanks to the Sailors from the ship's Deck Department.
Since work began in late August, Lincoln Sailors have applied haze-gray paint using rollers and brushes to more than 250,000-square feet of the ship's hull and weather decks, and black paint to an additional 20,000-square feet at the waterline. Though major work ended when Lincoln left drydock in December, teams are still hard at work keeping it looking like new.
"We've used 110 five-gallon cans of paint since we started DPIA (Dry-dock Planned Incremental Availability)," said Lincoln's Boatswain, Chief Warrant Officer Carlos E. Rudolph. "And we're still doing touch-ups."
Rudolph said that normally this tremendous undertaking would be performed by workers from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, but due to time and budget restraints, Lincoln's Deck Department enacted their own aggressive plan to paint the ship themselves within the allotted time.
"No other aircraft carrier's deck department, at least in the last five years, has taken it upon themselves to paint the ship from the waterline up," Rudolph said.
He added that the reason for this is the difficulty of ensuring that environmental procedures are followed, equipment is set up properly, and that the work is coordinated with other projects going on around the ship. Rudolph said that Deck Department foresaw the challenges they would face and took steps to prepare for them before painting even began.
"Our guys got training from the shipyard to ensure that all environmental concerns were understood," Rudolph said, "We also rented our own aerial work platforms so we could meet the schedule we set for ourselves."
Rudolph and Chief Boatswain's Mate (SW/AW) Johnny R. Ford, who supervised most of the work, both estimate that their department's efforts shaved millions of dollars from the normal cost of painting, based on comparing figures they've heard for other carriers.
Teams of junior sailors worked around-the-clock, seven days a week through a wet, windy Pacific Northwest winter to get Lincoln's hull looking good as new.
"We had two teams of 15 people working 8-hour shifts each day and night so we could get the job done on time," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Willie Pagan, a team supervisor. "A lot of the work had to be done at night or on the weekends because during the workday the shipyard workers would be working in the areas that we had to get to," he added.
Each team was comprised of a group of 13 seamen and a pair of petty officers who supervised and ensured that quality and environmental standards were being met.
"None of what we accomplished could have been done without the leadership of our second and third class petty officers in charge of the teams," Ford said. "They were out there every day making sure it was done right and on time."
Ford said that in addition to compliments from the crew, he and the rest of Deck Department's leadership were also impressed with the way the ship looks.
"It actually surprised us -- the day we came out of dry-dock. The boatswain, the First Lieutenant and I went out to have a look and honestly, it looked like a whole new ship."
The combined efforts of work teams like Deck Department's paint crew have helped bring Lincoln closer to achieving operational readiness as DPIA draws to a close and the ship prepares to get underway.
For related news, visit the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.