SASEBO, Japan –
The crew of USS Patriot (MCM 7) completed the five-year congressionally mandated Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) with outstanding results, June 19.
The crew of Patriot earned a 91.4 percent INSURV figure of merit, the highest of any MCM ship.
“INSURV is a culmination of two years of hard work by the crew,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mathew Hollinger, Patriot’s commanding officer. “We completed 22 crew certifications so that we would have a dedicated three months to focus on INSURV preparations and execution.”
Hollinger said the crew received the highest I-FOM of any MCM with a 91.4% and went Green in 14 of 17 areas. The crew earned the highest score in information systems of any MCM in history and most areas were graded above 90 percent.
“Their efforts were monumental and have once again proven why they are the best crew I have ever had the pleasure of serving with,” said Hollinger. “I look forward to seeing what this crew can achieve in the future.”
The inspection is mandated by congress to assess the mission readiness of ships in the U.S. Navy and provides Sailors who experience it a very personal understanding of the phrase “no stone left unturned.”
“You can’t underestimate the importance of everyday activities and attention to detail,” said Ensign Andrew Grimm.
For many of the crew this was the first time they had taken part in an INSURV.
“A lot can get lost in the shuffle on a forward-deployed warship,” said Lt. j.g. Jacob Hauser, Patriot’s navigator and an officer on exchange from the U.S. Coast Guard. “INSURV is a reality check and a healthy reset button unique to the Navy.”
The Sailors in the Combat information Center (CIC) were no exception to this notion, most of them having never experienced the extensive inspection themselves while aboard a minesweeper.
CIC Leading Petty Officer Mineman 2nd Class Kyle Walker noted that preparing for the inspection made his Sailors “very proficient at being proactive,” and that they all learned a great deal about their ship and work center from the experience.
As Patriot’s INSURV coordinator Grimm’s position afforded him a perspective that few junior officers get to experience. He worked with every division on board and was personally responsible to ensure all areas had the proper documentation to complete their assigned events.
The evaluation covered all divisions, often times requiring finely tuned collaboration across departments to meet a goal. Most notably was the teamwork between the deck and engineering divisions to ensure the timely execution of a combination magnetic/acoustic minesweep, deck equipment checks, small boat demonstration and numerous others. Many hands were required to work together in order to properly stream and energize the highly specialized equipment.
Meanwhile in the pilothouse the navigation department ensured the ship stayed on course and in the proper waterspace to complete each event. The navigation division also had their own checkes to complete and received high scores. During much of the evolution Patriot was operating in low-visibility with the low-visibility detail set to ensure safety during periods of dense fog and rain.
However, despite the added challenges that the weather brought with it Quartermaster 3rd Class Dewayne Lancaster stayed boldly confident saying [the weather was] “only bad for a couple of minutes,” noting that the fog itself wasn’t a problem for the lookouts, but the rain was because it forced watchstanders to battle the distracting effects of being cold and wet.
During Patriot’s underway demonstration, both the Commander of MCM Squadron 7, Capt. Mark Truluck, and the Deputy Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, Capt. Walter Towns, were on board to observe. Even with the added pressure to perform, the crew attained their impressive scores with composure despite less than favorable weather conditions.
“INSURV wasn’t so bad, but the required work which lead up to the inspection was grueling and constant,” said Mineman Seaman Ronald Brown
who was responsible for correcting the discrepancies for seven material checks within Deck division.
“INSURV isn’t just a fine toothed comb inspection, it is several practice runs, with several evolutions going on at once, in several different areas of warfare,” said Brown, whose inspection areas included equipment, required for underway replenishment operations and personnel transport between ships at sea. “You just have to figure out the right formula for the entire ship to do every evolution it is responsible for, and that process has to transition smoothly, and that’s what the crew did, orchestrated by the INSURV coordinator.”
The INSURV experience is something each sailor will take with them and will not soon forget. This is an experience unlike any other. The crew is now better prepared to accomplish the mission and much more knowledge about their ship, it takes a lot of pride to accomplish the kind of results Patriot’s crew did.
USS Patriot (MCM 7) is an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan since 1994.