News | Sept. 7, 2023

USS Harry S. Truman Reaches 50 Percent Completion of PIA

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Suarez

The Navy announced the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) reached 50 percent completion June 15 of its Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), Virginia. A significant milestone during the maintenance period, Truman and NNSY crews continue working together tirelessly to complete ship-wide upgrades, modernization and major maintenance projects to return the ship to sea.

As Sailors, shipyard workers and contractors step aboard every morning, they recognize the importance of their part in achieving success.

“The success of our planned incremental availability hinges on the collective efforts of every individual involved,” said Capt. Gavin Duff, commanding officer of Harry S. Truman. “It is the culmination of hard work, teamwork and a shared vision to enhance Truman’s readiness and capabilities.”

On average, Nimitz-class aircraft carriers have 16 scheduled shipyard visits throughout their roughly 50-year life cycle, including 12 PIAs, three dry-docking planned incremental availabilities (DPIA), and one Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH). This PIA focuses on significant structural repair and preservation work, including tanks, voids, weapons elevators, aviation engine hatch safety station modification and airplane crane, and a combat systems' CANES upgrade that improves communication connectivity and integration of systems onboard Truman.

The upgrades extend beyond essential systems and equipment. The focus on substantial work to enhance berthing spaces, ship-wide facilities such as gyms, laundry areas and entertainment spaces and the foundation for Wi-Fi capabilities underscores the commitment to improving the quality of life for the crew. Recognizing the physical and mental well-being of the Sailors as crucial factors in mission success, the ship’s force and shipyard personnel have worked diligently to create an environment that promotes comfort and relaxation during their demanding deployments.

“It is important that I come in and focus on the task at hand so when the Sailors are out at sea, the crew is able to live in a comfortable and safe environment,” said Demie De La Cruz, an NNSY employee. “Stressing habitability on this aspect gives all Truman Sailors one less thing to worry about and allows them to focus during their daily missions.”

Productivity remains a top priority for the ship’s force and NNSY personnel. Whether one belongs to a PIA team or is a shipyard worker, the common goal is to keep work progressing.

Walking through the various spaces of the ship during the PIA, one can witness the extensive maintenance and upgrade work undertaken.

“You walk on the brows, and every day you see maintenance being completed or started,” said Fireman Austin Krug, a member of the tank and void team. “It shows not only that everyone’s really pushing to get the ship out on time, but it also show how small upgrades like new mattresses, new furniture and even televisions are accounted for to make our time on here enjoyable.”

Amid countless tasks happening simultaneously, it can be challenging to comprehend one’s role. However, as the maintenance period progresses, the hard work and progress begin to bear fruit.

“It’s difficult to understand your role when a million things are happening at once,” said Seaman Hector Maldanado, a member of the berthing rehabilitation team. “This was especially true at the beginning of the maintenance period; however, five months into the process, you start to see all the hard work and progress come to fruition. It gives me and many of the shipyard workers pride in seeing our labor highlighted, praised and appreciated.”

From the very beginning of the maintenance period, collaboration and unity have been key guiding principles.

“My belief from day one of this maintenance period was that if Truman and all of us as shipyard personnel can plan together, work together and correct the work together, there is nothing that we won’t be able to accomplish,” said Nashawn Holliman, an NNSY employee. “You hear the commanding officer constantly talk about first-time quality; we take that to heart and apply it to all the maintenance that we do.”

The planned availability cycle has witnessed significant milestones and critical projects. Noteworthy among these are the mast preservation and the oily waste system, both of which have been successfully addressed during the maintenance period. The mast preservation ensures the structural integrity of the ship’s mast, crucial for optimal performance and safety. The oily waste system upgrade enhances environmental stewardship and compliance with strict regulations, reflecting Harry S. Truman’s commitment to sustainability.

Drawing from the lessons learned from other aircraft carriers, Truman’s crew and NNSY have continuously strived for excellence. By incorporating best practices and leveraging their collective expertise, they have overcome challenges and maximized efficiency. These lessons have been invaluable in streamlining processes, minimizing downtime and ensuring the highest standards of quality.

Throughout this endeavor, the cohesion between the ship’s force and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard workforce has been nothing short of remarkable. It is a testament to shared dedication and unwavering commitment to their respective roles.

“Everyone plays an important role; we’re able to come in every morning and do what’s asked of us,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Emily Flowers, the berthing rehabilitation team lead. “If everyone else does the same, we’ll continue progressing towards Truman’s modernization and mission-readiness.”

Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Suarez is a public affairs specialist with USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs.