PACIFIC OCEAN - While transiting to Apra Harbor, Guam from Darwin, Australia on the 31st of July, the amphibious transport dock ship, USS Green Bay (LPD 20), welcomed aboard five members of the Engineering Readiness and Assistance Team (ERAT).
“ERAT is comprised of retired engineering Senior Enlisted, Chief Warrant and Limited Duty Officers who are considered experts in their fields,” said Lt. Cmdr. Brock Wortham, Chief Engineer of USS Green Bay. “They are the very best of the best and they bring a tremendous return on investment when they are aligned with a ship early enough in the training cycle.”
These mechanical and electrical experts brought a wealth of knowledge and experience into the engineering department while providing and facilitating training and preparations for Green Bay’s future engineering operation certification, light-off assessment (LOA) and continued safe operations of the propulsion and auxiliary plants.
“The team has worked side-by-side with our Sailors, training and helping them to learn how to operate, maintain and repair some of the most complex equipment in the Navy,” mentioned Wortham.
ERAT assisted the ship’s crew with conducting material readiness checks of the ship’s auxiliary, electrical and propulsion systems. They also tested system alarms and equipment shutdown parameters as well as vital safety features within the equipment.
After completing the propulsion system checks, while the plant was not in operation, the team also conducted assessments of the equipment while underway. According to the leading chief engineman, Corey Northup of Lincoln, Nebraska, these checks verified the operating parameters of the propulsion equipment within rigorous tolerances.
“Receiving training from engineers with over 30 years of experience in the Navy definitely helped our Sailors become more efficient at their jobs and more familiar with the parameters and local procedures for their equipment,” said Northup.
ERAT also ran through a series of tests and training with the ship’s damage control team. Damage Controlman 1st Class Selere Iwanicki of Baltimore, Maryland, said the team assisted the crew through a series of inspections for fire stations, scuttles, hatches and water tight doors. The ERAT team led the ship’s damage controlmen through various strength and integrity tests to detect cracks which could exacerbate flooding during a casualty at sea.
“The inspections we did with the water tight doors were some of the most important,” mentioned Iwaniki. “If our doors can’t hold back water, we would not be able to isolate flooding, which could spread from compartment to compartment.”
The assessment team not only helped the crew with training and preparations for their upcoming inspections, but they also conducted repairs to vital equipment. For example, they assisted the crew in the troubleshooting and maintenance of the Green Bay’s galley and ammo support elevators.
“They helped us repair multiple faulty electrical connections and wiring problems, conducted training and greatly improved our troubleshooting capabilities for this equipment,” said Lt. j.g. Jordan McCullough, Green Bay’s Auxiliaries Officer from Kansas City, Missouri.
According to Wortham, ERAT’s visit resulted in nearly 100% completion of all material checks that will be demonstrated again during the ship’s next LOA in the spring of 2016.
“Normally, ships will not receive an opportunity of this magnitude until a month or two prior to the assessment,” said Wortham. “While it still remains early, the stars are aligning for a very successful Green Bay 2016!”