Posted by: arbeam | January 26, 2015

USS Bremerton: Captain’s Log

Bremerton Ohana,
 
USS_Bremerton_SSN_698_logoHau’oli Makahiki Hou! This is the start of another great year for our Bremerton family. I trust that all enjoyed the holiday stand down. It is a great time for us to enjoy with our families, and this particular break has been very well-deserved. Your Sailors have done so much to be proud of in the last month. Each of them has worked extremely hard, and we were finally able to complete all shipyard maintenance and have the ship ready for sea. In the last week before stand down, we completed our shipyard certification, shifted berths from our long-time shipyard pier to the Sub Base, and conducted a two-day fast cruise that ended just before the holiday stand-down began. It took extraordinary efforts to get us out of the shipyard, and I am proud of every Bad Fish Sailor as we achieved this milestone.
 698 closing_aspect
Following the holiday stand down, we conducted a second fast cruise, three-days long this time, and then got underway for sea trials.  Sea trials went great.  It was great to see the crew take the ship through all of her paces, and to see the ship’s great material condition following our availability in Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.
 
As I have said from the beginning of our availability, our shipyard period was an investment that bought two more deployments and three years of operations for the country.  During this availability, we conducted many of our periodic Unrestricted Operations (URO) maintenance items and inspections.  UROs are conducted fairly infrequently (every five to ten years) and they ensure that the ships watertight integrity is sound.  Prior to our shipyard period, it had been several years since our last major maintenance availability, and many of our service systems were in need of some TLC.  Pearl Harbor Shipyard spent a lot of effort bringing many of these systems back up to full capabilities. Examples included major work on our air conditioning and refrigeration plants and mechanical and structural work on our “control surface” systems, including the rudder, stern planes, and fairwater planes.  We also took the opportunity while in the shipyard to put a bit of a shine on the Bad Fish.  With the shipyard’s help, we replaced the majority of the tile and decking throughout the ship, and we did major painting and preservation on the sail and topside areas.
 698 Opening aspect
As we begin our work to get ready for deployment, our first steps are to begin practicing our core mission areas, teaching ourselves again as a crew how to perform those missions.  During the shipyard period, we had a quarter of the crew change out, many with first tour Sailors.  This means that our focus will be on teaching the crew the basics, while slowly increasing the difficulty of the skills that we are trying to gain.  Our first steps in making ourselves ready will involve us leaving Hawaii and coming to the Pacific North West to conduct some of our required training events.   While we are up north, we will pay a visit to our namesake city in the early spring.  This should be a great time, and my crew is really looking forward to it.  I look forward to meeting with our great hosts and supporters in Bremerton.  I hope to see you all there.
 
Aloha and mahalo,
CDR Wes Bringham
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