The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln entered a Virginia shipyard last March for a midlife overhaul that will last until October 2016. While the flattop is out of the fleet’s deployment plans for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean its sailors are getting a break.
In the video above, from his ship’s barren bridge, Capt. Karl Thomas gives his crew an update on the carrier’s progress — which, to this point, has involved having a chunk of its island removed, its catapults taken apart and the bulk of its guts ripped out.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime procedure for a nuclear carrier, and Thomas explained how three separate crews will take part — one that sailed the ship into the yard, one that will work aboard during the overhaul, and one that will take the ship back to sea. Keeping as much institutional knowledge as possible throughout those crew-to-crew transitions and “re-taking ownership” of the renovated carrier will be keys to a successful overhaul, Thomas said.
It’s an incremental process — sailors are “reclaiming” 10 to 15 spaces per month, Thomas said. The carrier has 2,300 spaces.
While there is plenty of repainting, relabeling and re-everything-else going on aboard Lincoln, the crew won’t be deploying, which could give some sailors time to focus on personal goals.
“We need to take the opportunities that we have while in this RCOH environment to make ourselves better, not just as sailors, but as individuals,” Command Master Chief (AW/SW/IDW/SS) Gregg Weber said in the video (he starts in at the 3:40 mark).
Some examples: Cutting weight, attending college classes, quitting smoking, even running a marathon. And the advice Weber gives has been around since 1893 or so — ask the chief.
“The chiefs are here to help you achieve your goals,” Weber said. “The chiefs have the network that can find the right mentor to fit your needs.”