BREMERTON, Wash. - USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) departed Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS and IMF) in Bremerton, Wa., March 18, after completing a docking planned incremental availability (PIA) that lasted more than a year.
The ship is now heading to its homeport in San Diego. It was in January 2012 that Reagan executed an administrative homeport change to Bremerton, Wash.
"What we've been able to achieve over the last 14 months has been amazing," said Capt. Thom Burke, Reagan's commanding officer. "Our crew had a huge task laid before them, but, on every level, our Sailors met or exceeded expectation. I couldn't be more proud of what they've accomplished."
The primary purpose of PIA is to maintain the 50-year projected service life of an aircraft carrier by taking the ship off-line for an extended period to accomplish deep maintenance and modernization that would be impractical during a normal in-port period.
The repair period, which began in January 2012, involved more than 600,000 man days of work by PSNS and IMF employees, ship's force Sailors and contractors.
More than 400 Ronald Reagan Sailors worked outside of their normal ratings and contributed to 14 DPIA teams that completed a variety of tasks. Cable, paint, deck, fire watch, valve, tank, and calibration teams were just some of the contributing forces that led to the ship's successful year.
"I can't say enough about the heart and soul of the men and women who make up this collaborative effort," said Capt. Steve Williamson, PSNS and IMF commander. "This is more than just a job - carriers are a powerhouse in our national defense and the work these Sailors, civilians and contractors perform is vital to ensuring our Navy warfighting force is ready."
Major repair items accomplished during this period include overhauls of all four propulsion engines and the propeller shafts, the rudders, preservation (blasting, repairing, and painting) of the entire hull and a multitude of modernization upgrades.
"The DPIA was successfully accomplished because of the dedication and willingness of the Ronald Reagan Sailors to learn something new," said Lt. Cmdr. John Lalli, the ship's maintenance officer. "Most of them were doing jobs for which they had no previous experience, but were able to execute flawlessly in partnership with skilled tradesmen from PSNS and IMF."
The success of this availability stretched far beyond the DPIA itself. Sailors from all of the ship's departments initiated more than 30 community service projects through the Kitsap County community.
"The Bremerton area and surrounding communities opened their arms to us the moment we arrived," said Burke. "From the time and effort our Chiefs' Mess spent helping to revitalize the Tomb of the Unknown at Ivy Green Cemetery to the weekends our junior Sailors volunteered at the local Veteran's Homes, we made it a point to serve those around us. It was a great pleasure to become a part of Bremerton, and we can't thank you enough for allowing us that opportunity."
Now, as Reagan heads back to San Diego, the mission of operating at sea once again becomes the focus.
"Completing an availability like this ensures that Ronald Reagan reaches her 50-year life span," said Burke. "I'm confident that the last 14 months have put us in the perfect condition to do our nation's work."
PSNS and IMF is one of four Naval Sea System Command's public shipyards that play a major role in maintaining America's fleet and providing wartime surge capability to keep the nation's ships ready for combat.