SAN DIEGO, CA — The sighs of relief are audible in BAE shipyard as USS BENFOLD (DDG 65) has finally entered the drydock after an intense operational schedule, that included a WESTPAC deployment, RIMPAC, multiple assessments of every mission area by Afloat Training Group, ammunition on- and offloads, and the notorious INSURV. The crew, always proud to serve, is thankful to finally be able to spend some time home with their families.
After returning from their seven-month deployment, they got very little rest and relaxation time as they dove head-on into INURV preparations. BENFOLD had the opportunity to work with forces from over fourteen nations and proudly display nearly all of her combat systems and weapons capabilities off of the coast of Hawaii during RIMPAC. Even then, the preparations specifically geared towards INSURV did not stop.
All of that hard work paid off as BENFOLD triumphed INSURV, the infamous once-every-five-years inspection by the unforgiving Board of Inspection and Survey, passing every mission area, with flying colors in most. It was no easy feat for the crew to set the bar this high for the rest of the Fleet. Each and every person put in a lot of hours of hard work above and beyond what could be expected, working as a team. Everyone, no matter their rate or rank, worked all over the ship, from the stacks to the main deck to the lowest bilges; fixing, painting, cleaning, and doing whatever needed to be done. And all the hard work paid off, impressing the inspectors who want to see nothing less than perfect.
Now in the drydock, it is by no means all rest for BENFOLD sailors. To borrow a phrase from the Commander in Chief, this destroyer is “winning the future” by working closely with the maintenance community during this extended availability and launching into an aggressive training plan. Working with BAE and the Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, BENFOLD wants to fix what’s broken now and make changes for the better to the ship that will ensure she stands up to countless more deployments and INSURV inspections for at least another fifteen years. The team of contractors and crew is dedicated to setting the ship’s future sailors up for success. The current crewmembers of BENFOLD are setting themselves up for success by creating as many training opportunities as possible. Be it schools, underway time, unit training, completing Personal Qualification Standards, or individual studying, each and every sailor onboard DDG 65 is truly focusing on bettering him or herself in the surface warfare profession and becoming a greater asset to Team BENFOLD.
After the strong leadership of CDR Kevin Brand that carried BENFOLD through all of these challenges, maintaining the highest standard; she looks forward to a change of command on May 6th. With all the charisma he has shown as Executive Officer, it is certain that BENFOLD is on course for continued excellence under CDR Dave Oden.