NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- A thousand dollars here, a thousand dollars there. Who cares? The crew of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) cares.
Ike's aircraft intermediate maintenance department (AIMD) is fortunate enough to have access to a facility known as the Light Industrial Facility (LIFAC). LIFAC is a building where Ike Sailors fabricate and restore materials for the aircraft carrier. Among the items they refabricate are ready room chairs, watertight and non-watertight doors. They also create new items, such as funnels and M-60 mount covers.
"We are the first carrier to do refabrication on watertight doors," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class (AW/SW) Charles R. Dovich, LIFAC production leading petty officer. "We are also the first carrier to create M-60 [machine gun] mount covers."
At LIFAC, a new process for ships known as 'powder coating' is being conducted as an alternative to painting. Powder coating is very unique in that it lasts ten times longer than regular paint, won't rust, is environmentally safer, is an easier process and takes less time to complete a project.
"The powder coating costs about the same amount as regular paint, but since it lasts longer, it saves money in the long run," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class (AW) Michael L. Glass, LIFAC production supervisor.
As proof the powder coating is a reliable process, AIMD has left a powder-coated door outdoors for more than one-and-a-half years now. The door has borne the weather and is still in great condition, according to Glass.
Powder coating is just one of many stations LIFAC utilizes. Included is the fabrication bay, where Sailors measure, cut and create new items for the ship. Attached to that are the wielding stations, where watertight doors and other items are currently being worked on. Then there is the upholstery shop, where the fabric is redone on ready room chairs and M-60 mount covers are sown. Next, there is the blast booth, where doors and other materials are sandblasted down to bare metal. Finally, there is an area where some regular painting on items, such as non-watertight doors, occurs.
It's with these stations that AIMD is able to do a lot of different jobs to save the Navy as much money as possible.
Since AIMD took over LIFAC in May 2001, they've saved the Navy in excess of $2 million dollars, according to Dovich. They've refabricated 300 chairs, 1,000 non-watertight doors, 200 watertight doors, 39 communication booths and numerous other items, such as firefighting hose reels. They've also constructed 600 funnels, which are important for reactor department's shore steaming operations.
"We have a lot of hard-working Sailors here," said Dovich. "I would put this work force against any work force in the Navy."
With all the hard work they put in, LIFAC just wants Ike to know that they are here to support the crew. They feel strongly about coming out of the yards on time.
"We feel good knowing that we are doing our job to support the ship," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Senior Chief (AW/SW) Dave L. Harris, LIFAC leading chief petty officer. "Life is good here at LIFAC."
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69.