SASEBO, Japan – The crew of the dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) has been steadily eradicating corrosion throughout the ship with the assistance of the hard working Corrosion Control Assistance Team (CCAT).
The CCAT combines the technical expertise of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) corrosion experts and hand-selected ship personnel.
“My role is to work right alongside the ship’s personnel selected to be on the team,” said Wally Wise, one of the NAVSEA corrosion leads. “I ensure they have the proper training on correct corrosion control, I stay updated on new technology that can improve our process, and I provide all the tools required to do the job right.”
A huge focus of the team is training, which is given to all members selected for the team. The training includes topics such as corrosion identification, proper grinding methods, and effective paint preparation and application. It may sound simple, but one might be surprised at how often ships can apply the process incorrectly.
“The training we have received is invaluable,” said Hull Technician 1st Class Michael Crans, one of the ship force personnel selected for the team. “I wish everyone could get this training. Learning how to handle corrosion correctly and doing it right the first time means the metal will last twice as long. It saves an incredible amount of money and manpower.”
CCAT isn’t just saving the Navy money in the future by proper ship preservation; the team is saving government dollars now in a fiscally austere environment. The tedious and labor intensive preservation work would have cost millions if outsourced to contractors.
By finding ways to attain the same quality of work within the Navy, the cost is greatly reduced. In addition, it significantly improves the knowledge and skill set of the ship’s force.
“Being on CCAT is empowering,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Robert Kennedy. “After we leave SRA [Selective Restricted Availability], I can return to my division as the technical expert in corrosion control. I can teach them all the skills I’ve learned and make sure we preserve the ship the right way.”
So far, CCAT has properly preserved more than 10,000 square feet of metal throughout the ship. Their preservation work has been on many mission essential areas such as the 0-5 level weather decks, well deck accesses, the stern gate, both stern gate machinery rooms, and bilges in the main engineering spaces.
All of their hard work and dedication has been noticed by the entire command, all the way up to the ship’s commanding officer.
“I was very pleased when I heard that this capability was coming to Sasebo,” said Cmdr. Gary Harrington, Germantown’s commanding officer.
Harrington said Germantown is the first ship to start working with the NAVSEA team.
“The Navy hit a home run when they implemented this program,” said Harrington. “The small initial investment in training, tools and supplies will save millions during the life cycle of our ships.”