CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- One of the many reasons for Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson's (CVN 70) planned incremental availability (PIA) is habitability, and teams aboard Carl Vinson started work on 10 more berthings September 4, making great strides to improve the ship.
PIA, an extended period of deep maintenance and modernization, combines the efforts of the ship's work force and the technical expertise of civilian contractors to ensure the 50-year life expectancy of Carl Vinson.
"It's for morale. Everybody likes to come home to a clean berthing when they're underway. When you're in month six of an eight-month deployment and a drawer in your locker doesn't open its [discouraging]," said Chief Air Traffic Controller (SW/AW) Shannon K. Lynch. "Basically when you can come home to a better berthing it's just a little bit better for the Sailor underway."
To accomplish the remodeling of the berthings, Carl Vinson Sailors formed a berthing rehabilitation team. There are five teams, each made up of 12 to 15 people from the Operations and Intelligence Departments. When the project is complete, a total of 28 berthings will have been remodeled throughout the ship.
"Since it's a continuous evolution we have to continue to go backward and forward as we're shifting through berthings," said Lynch, who is the berthing rehabilitation team lead. "It's to keep it all on schedule. We have to continually work through berthings one through 28 until the end of PIA."
The rehab team was formed while the ship was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during the ship's last six-month deployment. Before the teams could work on the berthings, they trained to learn the proper procedures required for their maintenance.
At the beginning of the process, they worked alongside contractors to learn how to strip the berthings and remodel them, said Air Traffic Controller 1st Class (SW/AW) Alexander McCardle-Blunk, the berthing rehab leading petty officer. As the teams became more proficient, the contractors took on an advisory role to ensure the workers were staying on track and completing the work the proper way.
When the rehab team enters a berthing, they first remove the mattresses, racks and lockers from the space. Once complete, they then remove the tile, grind primer off the deck and set a new layer of primer.
The ship's paint team then gets involved to paint the berthing. When it is dry, the rehab team installs new racks, lockers, and lays down new tile to complete the remodel.
"When it comes to the hard work they put in, it's the surprises that are actually the hardest thing to work around," Lynch said. "When we lift up the decking - if it's all rusted underneath - there comes a time when they have to replace the steel on the ship or we have to spend 10 extra days, literally on our hands and knees grinding away the rust."
With all of the spaces requiring the team's attention, balancing their workload is key to staying on schedule, Lynch said. She is confident the team's work ethic and effort will ensure they finish on time for Carl Vinson Sailors to move back aboard at the end of PIA.
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