Official U.S. Navy file photo.
RUSHMORE Continues to Thrive, Concluding a Successful LOA and First Phase of Sea Trials 
By RUSHMORE Public Affairs Officer 
SAN DIEGO, Ca. – On July 22, USS RUSHMORE (LSD 47) returned to her homeport Naval Base San Diego after successfully completing her Sea Trials. The ship executed a highly successful Type Commander Light-Off Assessment and got underway for the first time after going through a 12-month long midlife LSD upgrade at NASSCO and Continental Maritime San Diego shipyards.

“We’re the first LSD to finish the mid-life upgrade on time,” stated EN1(SW/AW) Daniel Garret. “It’s a great feeling, and I’m really proud to see how far we’ve come. We started with an empty hole in our engineering spaces and now we are a fully operational warship. We exceeded the minimum equipment requirements for LOA and proved that we can handle ourselves in different casualty response situations. Now we’re back to being able to get underway. And it’s always good to get underway.”

The ship executed LOA two weeks before making her first underway in over a year on time. “The ship finished LOA strong and was assessed as ready to light off. That’s the best mark we could get,” said LT j.g. Ben Drout, USS RUSHMORE Main Propulsion Assistant. He added that “One of the biggest challenges was integrating all of the new systems with the old equipment which hasn’t been operated in a year,”

The ship’s maintenance package was very robust. It included an overhaul of all generators as well as the electrical plant to support a higher usage of power. Three of four main engines were overhauled, and a new LAN-based Machinery Control System was installed to provide better control, reliability, and efficiency in propulsion plant operations. In addition, the upgrade removed both boilers and evaporators and replaced them with reverse osmosis distilling plants, giving the ship an increase of more than 200% water-making capability.

The final phase of bringing the ship back to life was and all hands evolution. Sailors from all rates and ranks assisted Engineering Department, from the Tiger Teams down in the main spaces, to the Interior Communications Specialists working communications and wiring issues, to the Logistics Specialists researching and expediting repair parts. This was truly a team effort.

“I am really excited to get underway after LOA. Preparing for it was challenging, and I got to help out a lot in the Repair Locker. I was the nozzleman and boundaryman for the main space fire drill, and it felt really good to see all of our hard work pay off. Now that we’re done with all of that, it feels really good to be back at sea again and get back to what we do best.” said Seaman Kevin MacFarland.

Cmdr. Brian Finman, USS RUSHMORE Commanding Officer, couldn’t be more pleased about the efforts of his Sailors and Officers and the combined efforts of getting the ship underway on time. “I am very proud of the crew and pleased that Sea Trials has validated the design, installation, and human effort that made this mid-life upgrade a reality. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the crew and the maintenance community, the ship is set up for another 20 years of boldly defending the nation and executing its maritime strategy.”

USS RUSHMORE is the second Dock Landing Ship (LSD) on the West Coast to undergo the LSD mid-life upgrade and the fourth LSD in the fleet. The crew’s hard work has ensured that RUSHMORE will reach full service life.

USS Rushmore is the 7th of 12 ships in the Whidbey Island Class. The ship’s mission is to embark Marines with their combat equipment and vehicles, then remain at sea as an on-call force to conduct a diverse range of amphibious operations.

For more information on the USS Rushmore, please visit their website, http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/lsd47/Pages/default.aspx, or fan them on Facebook by searching “USS RUSHMORE LSD 47”.
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