200824-N-GW654-1170

Aviation Electrician's Mate Airman Recruit Chandler Tarpley, from Oklahoma City, Okla., removes paint from a bulk head using a needle gun in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). 

PACIFIC OCEAN

The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) successfully completed the largest planned incremental availability (PIA) on time to support mission tasking, while moored at Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) in San Diego during an unprecedented and historic pandemic.

A PIA is critical to prolonging the life-span of a ship and maintaining material readiness. During this maintenance period, repairs and upgrades were completed that could not be accomplished while deployed and operational.

“We expect these ships to last 50 years,” said Capt. Walter Slaughter, commanding officer of Abraham Lincoln. “This kind of maintenance is critical to repair the wear and tear on the ship after a long deployment and also to upgrade and modernize our systems to bring them up to current standards.”

Abraham Lincoln’s PIA planning took approximately two years to piece together, resulting in an all-hands collaboration between the ship’s crew, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) workers and multiple civilian contractors. The focus was on updating multiple systems, improving structural integrity and rehabilitating living quarters for the crew.

“Every ship in the life cycle needs time to recuperate after a long deployment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Al Ruiz, Abraham Lincoln’s ship’s maintenance manager. “We were meticulous in the planning of this PIA in order to fully maximize the time and resources to accomplish as much work as possible. It was truly a team effort between the different department maintenance officers and outside maintenance organizations to execute the complex integrated work schedule.”

During the 6-month-long PIA, the maintenance team surpassed more than 2.6 million man-hours including more than 320,000 hours of ship’s force work overhauling spaces and equipment from the top of the mast to the keel of the ship.

“Many Sailors stepped outside of their ratings to beautify and finish the ship’s topside force maintenance phase,” said Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman Kenneth Snider, Abraham Lincoln’s PIA manager. “It was absolutely phenomenal what they were able to accomplish.”

The habitability team alone, consisting of active duty Sailors and civilian contractors, teamed together to update more than 800 lockers and beds, commonly referred to as racks, in 14 berthings and were responsible for renovating the deck, installing new gear, and painting various spaces.

“The reconstruction of the berthings is important,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Alyssa Martinez, a habitability team member. “It’s our home away from home while we are out to sea.”

The COVID-19 pandemic added an extra layer of complexity for Sailors and contractors assigned to this project. They had to work on an already difficult task while following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Department of Defense health guidance while staying on schedule.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this entire team for the sacrifices they have made,” said Slaughter. “This is a hard business under normal circumstances. It’s even harder under the umbrella of a worldwide pandemic.”

While COVID-19 restrictions and a complex training schedule added strain to this PIA, the Sailors, shipyard workers and contractors came together as one team to finish the work safely and on schedule.

“I’d really just like to say thanks to the entire crew,” said Slaughter. “We asked a lot of these folks, and they were able to adapt, sacrifice and stay flexible to get the job done.”

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