By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Erin Boyce, USS Bataan Public Affairs
NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard USS Bataan (LHD 5) returned to their homeport of Naval Station Norfolk Aug. 18 following the successful completion of a four-month maintenance availability and sea trials.
Bataan arrived at BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair April 12 to complete necessary repairs and new equipment installations.
The three-day sea trials provided the ship with a series of tests and validations on that equipment.
"We pride ourselves in being on time ready for tasking, and after four months in the shipyard, finishing all of our work and departing as scheduled is certainly a step in the right direction," said Capt. Steve Koehler, USS Bataan commanding officer. "After the long shipyard period, it was good to get the ship and crew back out to sea and put them to the test. I couldn't be happier with the way they performed."
Major equipment tested included the aircraft approach radars, the ship's propulsion system and the countermeasure wash down system which is designed to defend the ship against chemical, biological and radiological attack.
"Getting out of the yards shows we did our part and that we finished all our tasks in a timely manner," said Machinist's Mate Fireman Danielle Weyeneth. "This has been a great accomplishment for us, showing that we were capable of doing such a strenuous task."
Weyeneth and her engineering shipmates had plenty of reason to be proud as the crew conducted high speed runs and rudder swing checks to measure how the ship would react under the stressors of steaming at increased speeds for extended periods of time.
"The plant performed outstanding," said Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Ragland, USS Bataan electrical officer. "We completed all testing that we planned to complete, and all tests were satisfactory. We kept the lights on, kept the ship cool, and we provided 400 hertz, which enabled combat systems to complete their required tests."
Throughout the course of the availability more than 1,600 jobs were completed by Sailors and civilian contractors.
The necessary system checks and work by the crew during sea trials made certain Bataan would be ready to rejoin the fleet.
"Last year this was the best LHD on the waterfront, proving it by winning the Battle "E" (Effectiveness)," said Master Chief Machinist's Mate Jim Thomas, USS Bataan engineering department, leading chief petty officer. "Beginning with our availability and now sea trials, we are taking the right steps to do it again."
Bataan now begins a scheduled four-week continuous maintenance availability where a series of additional upgrades and repairs will be completed before the ship returns to sea to begin a certification cycle designed to prepare the crew for their next deployment.