SAN DIEGO –
After more than a year living on a barge, the crew of USS Russell (DDG 59) is preparing to move back aboard their ship.
Russell is currently nearing completion of an $80 million Extended Dry Dock Selective Restrictive Availability (EDSRA) in San Diego. A significant part of the EDSRA consisted of livability improvements to the galley and berthings.
The galley of the 18-year old warship was completely gutted down to the deck. On top of new tile was placed a variety of new fixtures. A stainless griddle-top will provide consistent heat throughout its surface and will be easier to clean. A dual function warmer to heat food and proof bread eliminates the fire hazard and lack of dependability of the old exposed-coil warmer.
Four combination ovens with three modes replaced two ovens with only one mode. The new ovens will be able to provide hot air, steam, or a combination of the two. As a result, meat will now stay the same size while cooking instead of dehydrating. The “combi” ovens will also be able to accommodate a healthier version of “fried” food. As a result, the deep-fat fryer and associated fire-suppression system have been removed.
Other improvements include a new top-of-the-line steamer, more compact food mixer, new kettles, additional counter space for food preparation, and a new deep sink. In addition to providing better food to the crew, the new equipment will benefit those sailors charged with maintaining galley equipment.
“The new galley equipment is easier to maintain, the electronics are easier to access, and if something does break, it is easier to fix,” said Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Derrick D. Davis.
In addition to the upgraded galley, four of Russell’s seven berthing areas were completely gutted and redone. As a result they all have new and fully-functioning racks, heads, and lockers. Two additional berthings will be redone at a later date.
But it’s not just the equipment that is new on board Russell.
“Having an all-new team is a definite challenge,” said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Kenneth P. Sheppard. “None of my E-4 and below have been to sea yet. They’ve spent their entire career in the yards so far.”
The EDSRA is part of the Naval Sea Systems Surface Warfare (SEA-21) Comprehensive Modernization Program, and is intended to ensure that Russell reaches the ship’s 35-year expected service life.
“I’m thrilled that the Navy is making this significant investment in the Russell to improve the quality of life of her sailors,” said Cmdr. James Harney, Russell’s commanding officer. “It will guarantee that we stay at the cutting edge of crew habitability for years to come.”
Russell is assigned as part of Destroyer Squadron 1.