HT3 Rachel Stubbs demonstrates how to use a self-contained breathing apparatus as part of a Board of Inspection and Survey   
Essex Completes INSURV 
SASEBO, Japan (July 6, 2010) – The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) completed a Material Inspection by the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) July 1, after a four-day assessment of the ship’s condition and capabilities.

INSURV is conducted aboard all Navy ships every five years and is intended to ensure ships are properly equipped and ready for sustained combat operations at sea. During the inspection, more than 140 inspectors examined the ship and assessed the crew across a wide range of shipboard tasks.

“Essex's successful INSURV was due to the extensive planning, preparation and hard work of her superb crew,” said Capt. Troy Hart, Essex’s commanding officer. “I'm extremely proud of all they have accomplished. Their dedicated efforts not only ensured success during INSURV, but also enhanced the material and combat readiness of Essex.”

Throughout the past three months, Essex’s crew worked extended hours in preparation for INSURV, cleaning and preserving compartments, checking equipment systems, and restoring decks and fan rooms. Many Sailors routinely sacrificed their weekends to ensure their ship was ready for the inspection.

“The entire crew really came together to work as one team throughout INSURV and that was a huge factor in our success,” said Lt. Cmdr. Barnet Harris, Essex’s INSURV coordinator. “The crew’s collective efforts and sacrifices over the past few months paid great dividends. We should all be very proud of our hard work and great result!”

During INSURV preparations, many Sailors were temporarily assigned to specialized “tiger teams,” which focused on specific areas throughout the ship, such as decks, lagging, loose cables, valves, and fan rooms. Much of the ship’s success can be attributed to the work these Sailors put in while assigned to those teams, said Harris. 

“The tiger teams were absolutely essential to our efforts,” said Harris. “The ability for us to get people organized and working toward very specific goals allowed us to focus our efforts and efficiently improve the overall material condition of Essex.”

A total of 84 tiger-team Sailors managed to pull more than 15,000 feet of cable, accomplish more than 160 lagging jobs, paint and refurbish more than 300 valves, and fix discrepancies in more than 100 spaces in preparation for INSURV.

For Navy Counselor 1st Class (SW) Christopher Wycoff, leading petty officer for the INSURV valve team, this was his first experience preparing for INSURV with specialized teams. He said it’s a strategy he would recommend to other commands.

“It’s good for everyone to get out and participate in a ship-wide effort,” he said. “Some divisions have less to do than others, so it makes sense for them to get some of their Sailors out to help the ship as a whole. That’s really what our mission is, to take care of the ship.”

While the months leading up to INSURV proved to be a grueling experience for many, it was also a valuable one, said Aviation Ordanceman Justin Mitchell.

“It was definitely a tough time to go through this kind of inspection,” said Mitchell. “But I think that it was definitely a good thing for those people that are going to go through another INSURV inspection at a later time, because it gave them the experience that they didn’t have before.”

Hart said the crew’s focus now will be to continue to improve the ship’s readiness for whatever mission she is called upon.

“Our challenge now is to continue the steady strain required to improve upon that readiness everyday to ensure that Essex is always ready to answer our nation's call in the decades to come,” said Hart.

Essex, commanded by Capt. Troy Hart, is part of the forward-deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group.
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