Air Department Inspects LHD 8 Flight Deck
[PASCAGOULA, Miss. – Pre-commissioning unit (PCU) Makin Island’s (LHD 8) air department personnel began a series of quality assurance (QA) inspections on the installation of the flight deck non-skid March 28 at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB).

LHD 8 leadership established the QA process aboard the ship to provide a resource for the crew to report discrepancies in the ship's construction. It allows shipboard personnel to provide reports to the chain of command on the progress of the ship and crew involvement.

Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate Handler (AW/SW) Peggy Carrington, V-1 division officer in air department said this process is much different than non-skid application on a commissioned ship.

“The air department will be more hands on with the application once Makin Island becomes a USS ship. However, for now we are keeping records and documentation of NGSB’s process for future references,” stated Carrington. “This is an in-depth process, which when complete will allow Makin Island to land, launch and tow multiple types of aircraft safely.”

The crew is able to track 1,737 spaces throughout the building process by using a QA database. The program was established in Jan. 2007 by Makin Island leadership to ensure all spaces are constructed adequately prior to delivery of the ship.

“It provides a single portal for our crew to track the many aspects of construction of our ship, their involvement and a means for the leadership to pull from that collected data,” said command construction quality assurance coordinator, Chief Aviation Electronics Technician (AW) Chris Hamilton.

Hamilton added that if the crew doesn’t take the time to ensure all of the small details are inspected and reported to their chain of command now then everyone on board will have to deal with the discrepancies once the crew takes custody of the ship.

“The main goal of our QA is to keep everyone focused on the quality construction of our ship,” Hamilton said.

Air department will continue QA checks on the flight deck until late June when NGSB is scheduled to complete the non-skid application on the flight deck.

Following delivery to the Navy, Makin Island will be taken to San Diego, Calif., where she will be commissioned in May 2009.

Sailors, who are in their nine to 12-month negotiating window for orders and want to be part of the pre-commissioning command, can contact their rating detailer and ask to be released to the pre-commissioning detailer for further assignment to Makin Island. Makin Island currently has almost half of its 1,100-person crew.
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