SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The crew aboard amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) completed their first mid-cycle inspection (MCI) with high marks in preparation for deployment later this year, March 17.
MCI is a four-day readiness inspection that takes place every 2 1/2 years. The inspection is conducted by the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) and Commander Naval Surface Forces (CNSF) Type Commander Material Inspection Team (TMIT) and is used to examine and evaluate a ship's ability to conduct missions, as well as to ensure the ship will last its full life cycle.
"We make sure all equipment and systems are operating within the designed specifications," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ted Duarte, TMIT engineering lead inspector.
Eighty-one inspectors boarded America to conduct inspections of the ship's propulsion systems, deck equipment, damage control, combat systems, and aviation equipment. America received 17 scores above 85 percent including 100 percent in anchor drop and 96 percent in damage control, self defense and environmental protection and preservation.
Each department is responsible for demonstrating the ship's readiness to the inspectors. This process can be arduous, but in the end, it ensures a ship is fully operational and functional for the crew.
Duarte said the ship's efficiency also benefits from receiving a fresh perspective from an outside source. Because of this, the crew can better assess and fix any discrepancies they may have missed.
"The ship's personnel look at their equipment on a day-to-day basis and sometimes you get used to what you see," he said. "This inspection brings a fresh set of eyes that can identify anything that [they] may have missed during day-to-day operations."
Because engineering department encompasses the ship's propulsion system, electrical systems and damage control, they played a major role in the assessment.
"Prep work required double-checking all of our gear which included more than 2,000 maintenance items," said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Thomas Harrison, assigned to America. "It's good to know that all the hard work and long hours finally paid off."
Engineering department efforts were still just part of a ship-wide initiative over the past few months preparing for this moment, as every department put in extra hours to help achieve success. Sailors worked together by setting berthing standards, enforcing good food sanitation in the galley and ensuring dental and medical readiness.
"It was a tough inspection, but at the end of the day we all learn from it and are better prepared," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jack Green, a preventive medicine technician aboard America. "Our medical and dental team has done a phenomenal job of taking care of the crew."
This was Green's first MCI on his first ship. He said because of that he recognized the value in succeeding as a cohesive unit.
"Teamwork is very important," said Green. "I know that sounds cliche, but you can't do it by yourself."
Now that MCI is complete, the crew can cross off a fundamental milestone that brings them one step closer to deployment.
"This inspection is all about ensuring the ship and crew are maintaining the basics," said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Bacon, MCI coordinator aboard America. "Habitability, damage control, material condition; these are all the stepping stones for us to be operationally ready for deployment."
America is capable of supporting a wide spectrum of military operations and missions, including putting Marines ashore for combat operations, launching air strikes, keeping sea lanes free and open for the movement of global commerce, and delivering humanitarian aid following a natural disaster.
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