By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Wright, USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) Public Affairs
GAETA, Italy (NNS) -- The U.S. 6th Fleet command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), returned to Gaeta, Italy Oct. 3, 2015, after completing a nine month dry dock period in Rijeka, Croatia.
During its 270 days in the Viktor Lenac shipyard, the Blue Ridge-class command and control ship underwent several modifications on its hull, mechanical and electrical (HM&E) integrity.
"We got a number of projects accomplished during our stay; including self-sustained import electrical and steam capabilities. These capabilities will prove to save the Navy over the upcoming years. Additionally, the work accomplished has extended the life span of this national asset."
- Cmdr. Tammy S. Royal, Executive Officer
"Our shipyard period was a complete success. Our objectives going into this dry-dock was to support the eight month HM&E overhaul of our ship. We came out more qualified and educated than when we went into the yards. It has been a steady stream of Sailors getting their warfare pins and college degrees. I'm really proud of this crew and the way they represented the United States over this long yard period."
- Command Master Chief Matt Dickinson
Mount Whitney's major installation projects included 100 plus tons of steel to the ship's hull, and two new electrical boilers.
Steel was replaced on the topside deck, shower heads, plating on mooring stations, and all work on the Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie, General Electric Caterpillars (CAT) located on the fifth deck.
Diesel engines in the CAT room spaces provide the new electric boiler with power.
The boiler produces hotel steam which is distributed throughout the ship.
The electric boiler service steam is utilized by the crew to provide heat for hot water heaters in berthing and in the galley.
The entire process allows the Mount Whitney to become self-sufficient in homeport, discontinuing the need for a muse barge.
With the initial acquisition of a Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant, the Mount Whitney now has the ability to remove salt and sediment gathered from ocean water.
The water is pumped through the ships piping system, and is utilized in the production of creating fresh flushing water for the ship and her crew.
This allows the flagship to maintain the integrity of its piping system, by greatly reducing the risk of rusting and debris from the oxidization of metal pipes through contact with salt water.
The newly installed Assured Power System has revitalized all Mount Whitney's electrical platforms.
The system provides reliable power to vital electrical units, in case of sudden power loss or a power surge.
This system is a perfect fit for the Mount Whitney, because of her position as a Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Intelligence (C4I) vessel.
Assured power allows the Mount Whitney's electronic equipment to operate more safely and efficiently with a lowered margin of risk than in the past.
The flagship was also outfitted with a video camera system that will be used to support watch standing in all engineering spaces.
Other shipyard renovations include:
Re-wiring of several hundreds of feet of fiber optic cables in communication
New tiling on the ceremonial quarterdeck, painting of bulkheads and refurbishment of non-skid throughout the entire main deck, forward and aft.
New mattresses in both female and male berthing.
Mount Whitney, forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy, operates with a combined crew of U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners.
The civil service mariners perform navigation, deck, engineering and supply service operations, while military personnel support communications, weapons systems and security.
It is one of only two seaborne Joint Command Platforms in the U.S. Navy, both of which are forward deployed.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.