Although the Navy’s newest super carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, has been garnering most of the attention lately, another carrier named after a president, the Nimitz class USS Harry S. Truman, just crossed a significant hurdle toward returning to full duty.
The USS Harry S. Truman recently completed a significant overhaul intended to ensure it is combat ready for years to come. Although the new Ford class carriers may be the future of the Navy, with only one nearing service, the brunt of the American Navy’s carrier load remains squarely on the shoulders of Nimitz class carriers like the Truman – meaning their maintenance and repair schedule are of the utmost importance.
The Truman’s most recent “planned incremental availability” (PIA) period, or the extent of time it was down for repairs and maintenance, began in September of 2016. Over the past ten months, the ship underwent a series of upgrades to its internal and external communications systems, as well as the implementation of more than 3,000 Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) assets, which can be thought of as a sort of operating system for the vessel. A number of other repairs, including some to the nuclear reactors that power the behemoth, were also completed.
“There was a ton of work to be done, but all hands did an excellent job of executing their mission.” USS Harry S. Truman’s maintenance manager Lt. Cmdr. Jeremiah Nelson said. “We had a lot of people on this project and they all helped to ensure this ship re-entered the fleet operating at its maximum potential.”
The Truman completed its scheduled maintenance one day ahead of schedule, a testament to the hard work and professionalism demonstrated by maintenance and repair staff, as well as the Truman’s crew. Last week, the carrier steamed off under its own power to conduct five days of rigorous sea trials intended to ensure the updated and repaired systems are ready for deployment wherever the Truman is needed.
“Sea trials is a five-day underway that pushes the limits of the ship; a true shakedown,” said Truman’s Executive Officer Capt. Cassidy Norman. “Everything we’ve done for the past year has been building up to this moment. I’m proud to finally have our ship back out on the waterfront.”
Throughout this week, the Truman participated in a number of training evolutions in the Atlantic, including small boat recoveries, testing Aqueous Film-Forming Foam sprinkler systems, high-speed turns, catapult testing and a simulated replenishment-at-sea alongside USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13).
“This is the big leagues now,” said ship’s boatswain, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Erik Allison. “It’s time for our Sailors to showcase and build on their knowledge of these shipboard evolutions. It’s time to show that we can drop anchor and we can take care of this ship.”
The Truman returned to Norfolk on Tuesday, having completed sea trials with flying colors. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) is now slated to take its place in the PIA dock, to go about its own series of repairs and maintenance. The Truman is slated to deploy in the Spring of 2018.
“Truman’s on-time completion of its maintenance availability and its successful performance during sea trials means that this capital warship is one step closer to doing what carriers do: conduct prompt and sustained combat operations from the sea,” said Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey.
“This isn’t just a win for Truman. It’s a win for our Navy and a win for our country. It means our carrier force, and our fleet as a whole, is more ready to deliver sea control and combat striking power anywhere, anytime our nation requires us to do so.”
Image courtesy of the U.S. Navy