NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) officially began its planned maintenance availability (PMA) period at BAE Systems shipyard in Norfolk, Va., July 20.
Kearsarge is scheduled to spend the next four months at BAE conducting overhauls of some of its engineering, communications and other shipboard systems. The crew will also be refurbishing many of the ship's common spaces.
Kearsarge has had a busy operational cycle during the past couple of years, completing an extended nine-month deployment May 16.
"This yard period is to refurbish, replenish and restore Kearsarge," said USS Kearsarge Commanding Officer Capt. Dorian F. Jones. "We have been deployed for nine months, and it's been almost 18 months since we've been in a yard period, so this is an opportunity for us to restore our systems, improve the systems that we have and receive some upgrades to get Kearsarge back in fighting form."
Jones said the ship and BAE began planning for this maintenance period before the ship deployed last year. He said so far, the coordinated team effort has been very successful and he expects more of the same in the future.
"BAE has been nothing but positive," said Jones. "I look forward to teaming with them to ensure Kearsarge comes out ready for their next mission."
Since returning from deployment the crew has had little time to let up. After a brief stand down, the ship left Norfolk to conduct an ammunition offload in Earle, N.J., in June. Now their focus is entirely on getting the ship back in fighting shape.
"If I know the crew of Kearsarge, this will be business as usual," said Jones. "They take on all challenges in stride. They performed absolutely fabulous during a nine-month deployment, and we've had a little time to recuperate. I think folks are ready for the next phase in the ship's life cycle."
Kearsarge is the third ship in the Wasp-class amphibious assault ships. Its primary mission is to load, transport and land troops and their equipment in support of amphibious operations. The ship's homeport is Norfolk, Va.
For more news from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd3/.