USS Bataan is out of the yard and back at sea – ahead of schedule

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After 16 months of helping with a shipyard overhaul, the sailors of the USS Bataan are back to their regular duties, like keeping a bridge watch. (Christopher Jones/US Navy)

(Tribune News Service) – They called them “Tiger Teams” – sailors from the USS Bataan taking on new kinds of tasks during their ship’s renovation at NASSCO-Norfolk.

Their work got Bataan out of the shipyard ahead of schedule.

The Norfolk-based amphibious assault ship is now in the first phase of preparations to prepare for deployment – and the sailors are back to the more usual duties of standing deck watches, drilling on damage control and firefighting, practice launching and retrieving landing craft on the ship’s well deck, as well as marlin point seamanship of handling lines.

In the yard, however, the work was different.

“We had several enlisted-led ‘tiger teams’ that painted thousands of square feet of spaces, overdue teams that replaced missing or worn insulation, a valve repair team, and a gate team. to name a few. I am constantly impressed with the investment our sailors make in their command,” said Captain Joseph Murphy, Commanding Officer of the Bataan.

Bataan was at NASSCO for 16 months, doing major work in what the Navy calls a “Chief of Naval Operations availability.”

Work included general upgrades and restoration of the flight deck, hangar and engine room, including inspections of all boilers. The ship’s drinking water and waste treatment systems were a top priority.

Bataan’s computer network has also been upgraded.

Amphibious ships like Bataan operate close to shore and are the bases from which Marine Corps expeditionary troops strike the beach.

Another major effort in the shipyard was to reconfigure the Marines’ rifle storage facility and ammunition locker.

“Modifications to the Marine Corps living and storage areas have also been completed, as well as overall projects in our Chief’s Mess and Wardroom lounges, all with the goal of ensuring ship’s readiness. while increasing and sustaining quality of life improvements,” Murphy said.

Bataan management has conducted more than 2,000 training sessions for the crew, including firefighting, air traffic controller schools, and search and rescue swimmer school.

“From the start, we have focused on training with the aim of developing as much talent as possible, given the lack of manpower in the fleet,” Murphy said.

“We sent several sailors and enlisted officers with other ships to gain critical experience not available in the shipyard environment. In the shipyard, daily developments in damage control and onboard firefighting have enabled the crew to prepare and be ready” for the sea exercises and certifications they are currently working on, Murphy said.

Planning for the shipyard work began long before Bataan arrived there in late 2020, with a detailed plan of what needed to be done, when and what specifications each repair or modernization needed to meet, said Capt. Terry Patterson, maintenance officer for Expeditionary Strike Group 2.

When Bataan entered the shipyard, NASSCO had just completed a similar “CNO availability” for USS Kearsarge – which deployed last week with USS Arlington, USS Gunston Hall and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit . This put the yard in a position “to identify and implement high-speed changes” to keep maintenance work going faster and more efficiently, Patterson said.

“The success has been a collaborative effort between the thousands of contractors, sub-contractors, vendors and other stakeholders from across the region and the sailors and civilians of MARMC [Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center]said Captain Tim Barney, who commands the Norfolk-based group overseeing ship repair work here.

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