USS George Washington, At Sea (NNS) -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) was announced as a recipient of the 2014 Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Field-Level Maintenance Award, Sept. 20.
The SECDEF Maintenance Awards program recognizes outstanding achievements by field-level units engaged in military equipment and weapon system maintenance within the Department of Defense (DoD).
"This award is great recognition for the George Washington team, maintenance professionals of Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard, and Ship's Repair Facility Yokosuka who support the ship's maintenance efforts," said Cmdr. Joe Montes, George Washington's Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance officer. "The ship has accomplished a great deal in the past year. The maintenance plan we had was very complex and comprehensive, and was executed flawlessly because of the teamwork and planning that took place during our in-port period."
Six DoD maintenance units are awarded SECDEF Field-Level Maintenance Awards annually, two from each competition category (small, medium and large). George Washington won for the large command category.
"It's definitely a recognition that's seen and heard across the DoD because the competition includes all branches of the military and civilian DoD activities," said Montes.
George Washington received the field-level award based on several criteria, including innovative and effective use of maintenance resources, quality-of-life programs and mission accomplishments.
"Our success in these awards is due to the fact that we're manned, trained and equipped properly," said Cmdr. Charles Ehnes, George Washington's chief engineer. "Our Sailors have the skill sets and the necessary tools to apply their knowledge. They've done a fantastic job executing any challenge put in front of them."
According to Montes, he attributes the success of George Washington's maintenance program stems from an all-hands effort.
"Winning this award shows that every Sailor aboard George Washington is committed to maintenance and the operational requirements of the ship," said Montes. "It says that above all else, they're dedicated to completing our maintenance projects on schedule and with sound results."
The Navy displayed a strong showing in this year's competition, winning three of six field-level awards.
"The very nature of sea service requires a constant level of training and effort to become self-sufficient," said Ehnes. "When a ship is at sea, it's physically separated from logistical and depot-level facilities that can assist in maintenance projects. Maintaining physical readiness of the ship has been carried on as naval tradition through years of operational experience."
From the six award-winning units, one is selected as the best of the best, and presented with the Phoenix Trophy, DoD's highest award for maintenance.
"It's an incredible honor to be recognized as one of the finalists for the Phoenix Trophy," said Montes. "The mission accomplishment that resulted from our hard work exceeded every expectation and I couldn't be more proud that George Washington is considered for the honor."
The field-level awards, as well as the announcement of the SECDEF Phoenix Trophy winner will be formally presented Nov. 18, at the SECDEF Maintenance Awards banquet in Birmingham, Alabama.
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.