BREMERTON, Wash. -- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) wrapped up more than a year's worth of maintenance and overhaul March 18 and headed back to her traditional homeport of San Diego. In January 2012, Reagan executed an administrative homeport change to Bremerton, Wash., where it underwent multiple preservation and system upgrade projects at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF). "What we've been able to achieve over the last 14 months has been amazing," said Capt. Thom Burke, Reagan's commanding officer. "Our crew had a huge task laid before them, but, on every level, our Sailors met or exceeded expectation. I couldn't be more proud of what they've accomplished." During the Docked Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA), the ship's force completed nearly 600,000 man hours of work on projects ranging from preservation of the ship's exterior and island structure to a complete overhaul of the ship's internal computer network.
More than 400 Ronald Reagan Sailors worked outside of their normal ratings and contributed to 14 DPIA teams that completed a variety of tasks. Cable, paint, deck, fire watch, valve, tank, and calibration teams were just some of the contributing forces that led to the ship's successful year.
"The DPIA was successfully accomplished because of the dedication and willingness of the Ronald Reagan Sailors to learn something new," said Lt. Cmdr. John Lalli, the ship's maintenance officer. "Most of them were doing jobs for which they had no previous experience, but were able to execute flawlessly in partnership with skilled tradesmen from PSNS and IMF." In addition to the scheduled maintenance work, Reagan encountered unexpected challenges throughout the process which included work on the ship's main engines and rudders. "Our Sailors and teammates here in the shipyard really pulled together as a cohesive unit to overcome the unknowns of the DPIA evolution," said Burke. "They appropriately and effectively focused their efforts to minimize any major impacts to our overall timeline and schedule." Reagan's successes, however, stretched far beyond the DPIA itself. Sailors from all of the ship's departments initiated more than 30 community service projects through the Kitsap County community.
"We've really been able to make a difference in the community since we arrived," said Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Black, the ship's "3 & 2" Association president. "From Habitat for Humanity to volunteering at the local Children's Hospitals, our Sailors were eager to get out there and make a difference. By serving our local community, I think we were very much welcomed as a part of it." Burke shared similar thoughts on the experience. "The Bremerton area and surrounding communities opened their arms to us the moment we arrived," said Burke. "From the time and effort our Chiefs' Mess spent helping to revitalize the Tomb of the Unknown at Ivy Green Cemetery to the weekends our junior Sailors volunteered at the local Veteran's Homes, we made it a point to serve those around us. It was a great pleasure to become a part of Bremerton, and we can't thank you enough for allowing us that opportunity." Now, as Reagan wraps up a year of hard work and heads back to San Diego, the mission of operating at sea once again becomes the focus. "Completing an availability like this ensures that Ronald Reagan reaches her 50-year life span," said Burke. "I'm confident that the last 14 months have put us in the perfect condition to do our nation's work."