USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is conducting sea trials in collaboration with Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) to train Sailors and ensure operability of equipment and systems, Dec. 3.
The ship is preparing for the upcoming training cycle and 2013 deployment following the successful completion of a four-month planned incremental availability (PIA) period at NNSY.
"After anything on the ship has been changed or added you have to go out and knock the rust off," said Lt. Cmdr. John S. Fairweather, the ship's 1st Lieutenant. "It's two fold. For one, sea trials are good to give the crew time to re-adjust to being out to sea. Secondly, because this class of ship gets the latest and greatest upgrades, we need to go out to make sure everything works and was installed correctly during the availability. It's a good way to kick off the training cycle."
Tests being conducted during sea trials include, high-speed turns, aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) tests on the flight deck and hangar bays, sea and anchor testing, anchor drop testing and strainer runs.
Along with testing the ship and its equipment, Sailors were taking part by participating in drills such as man overboard and general quarters.
"From my side in engineering, we did really well," said Damage Controlman 2nd class Kathryn Krueger. "We had a few hiccups at first but in the end everything went well and we passed with flying colors on the AFFF testing. The successful completion of sea trials is extremely important for us because we are an aircraft carrier and the whole purpose of sea trials is to make sure our ship is ready to go when deployment comes."
During sea trials, Sailors continue to work hard and maintain George H.W. Bush's standard of excellence. The goal, before returning home, is to re-establish the proficiency of the ship, its training teams and its crew as well as be completely prepared to accept the air wing on board.
"Sea trials are a critical step in getting air department ready to support and host flight operations," said the ship's Air Boss, Cmdr. William E. Powers. "While we continue our relentless pursuit of perfection and hope for the best we need to be prepared for the worst."
During this underway, the catapults, arresting gear, fueling hoses and pumps, and all other equipment has been carefully inspected and checked to ensure proper operation for the upcoming flight deck certification period in January.
"Pushing the ship to its maximum capabilities is meant to put a lot of pressure on the system to ensure that those systems can withstand combat-like conditions and ensures we can meet and complete our mission." said Fairweather.
Once sea trials are complete, George H.W. Bush will return to its homeport of Norfolk, Va. to enter its training and qualification cycle in preparation for a 2013 deployment.
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