This past month, we completed the phased manning of the submarine crew with the arrival of Ensign Hannell; he recently completed the submarine officer accessions pipeline of Nuclear Power School, Nuclear Prototype Training, and Submarine Officer Basic Course. We now have 135 crew members comprised of 20 Officers, 19 Chief Petty Officers, and 96 enlisted sailors. They are in the throes of qualifying their at-sea watchstations, such as Officer of the Deck, Pilot, Sonar Operators, and the like. Part of their training includes participating in simulated operational scenarios at the Submarine Learning Facility which mirror our shipboard systems.
We recently announced our Sailors of the Year for 2016. Petty Officer First Class Maynard was selected the Senior Sailor of the Year for his work as the President of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Committee and the First Class Petty Officer’s Association. Additionally, he organized, and currently manages, our Submarine Qualifications Program. Petty Officer Second Class Shifflett was selected as the Junior Sailor of the Year for his overall professionalism. He was recognized as one of our best engineering watchstanders and for his overall contributions to the success of Machinery Division. Petty Officer Third Class Johnson was selected as the Blue Jacket of the Year for his work as the Vice President of the MWR Committee. He organized fundraisers that resulted in $14,000 in support to the crew.
Construction on the submarine is progressing as expected. WASHINGTON is about 90 percent complete – most of the construction is complete, the remaining work includes final outfitting, testing, and grooming. She is home to many redesigned systems and with these new designs come challenges such as integrating them with existing systems. Testing on the propulsion plant systems is progressing. The Combat Control Systems are nearly fully installed and they also are undergoing testing on a daily basis. A useful feature of this combat control system is the On-Board Team Training (OBTT) mode. Every day, the crew is operating the equipment in this training mode to help build their proficiency; this also puts the equipment through its paces.
I am looking forward to the Christening festivities. Newport News Shipbuilding always puts on a good event; I don’t expect this to be any different. Following Christening, I anticipate the ship will be launched mid-March.
J. J. SCHNEIDER
PCU WASHINGTON (SSN 787)