The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Cmdr. Jason Garrett a native from Eudora, Kan., Nimitz’ former Safety Officer and Brian Fazio, project superintendent for Nimitz’ Fiscal Year 2015 Extended Planned Incremental Availability (EPIA), all received Fiscal Year 2016 safety awards.
Nimitz, Garrett and Fazio received their respective awards due to their combined efforts to create a culture of safety at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) that reduced on-the-job injuries by approximately 50 percent in comparison to the Navy’s three previous carrier availabilities.
“The fact that both the ship, and the shipyard earned national recognition for safety during the same period speaks volumes about the culture aboard Nimitz during its EPIA,” said Capt. Howard Markle, a native of Pa., PSNS and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF) commander. “The entire team was perfectly aligned in keeping a laser focus on hazard identification and accident prevention, and the results were a successful project and an unprecedented safety record. We were extremely proud to partner with them, and I can think of no one more deserving of these awards than the Nimitz team.”
The ship received the Vice Admiral Bulkeley Award for Afloat Safety Culture in large part due to the efforts of the Nimitz safety department’s ability to disseminate information to Sailors and contractors assigned to the ship throughout the yard period using posters, safety stand-down presentations and other forms of visual information.
Garrett earned the Rear Admiral Buie Award for Afloat Safety Culture by heading up a large portion of the communication effort. He published four safety articles to various fleetwide magazines, authored 45 safety related Monday comics in the Nimitz plan of the week and created two safety posters for the ship. He also created and presented four safety stand-down videos, each reaching more than 2,500 Sailors.
“I am tremendously honored to receive the award and thankful that Capt. Ring and the leadership onboard Nimitz nominated me for this honor,” said Garrett. “As with all things in the Navy, our greatest achievements are a team effort. I am thankful to have been part of such a tremendous team onboard the greatest ship in the Navy.”
The efforts of the shipyard workers led by the Shipyard Safety Team (code 106) throughout the EPIA also didn’t go unrecognized by Nimitz Sailors.
“While undergoing the overhaul in the shipyard, over 2,000 contractors and shipyard workers integrated with the ship’s crew of more than 3,000 Sailors,” said Garrett. “This team of more than 5,000 people conducted high-risk evolutions around the clock to repair Nimitz and get her ready for sea. It was a tremendously dangerous environment for everyone involved, yet we did it with the lowest number of mishaps, by more than 50 percent of any carrier in PSNS history.”
Fazio received the Navy League Secretary Gordon R. England Safety Award due to his ability to construct a strong working relationship amongst his PSNS and IMF team, the Nimitz crew and contractors working on the project.
“Brian Fazio’s contribution to our safety success on Nimitz cannot be understated,” said Capt. Howard Markle, PSNS and IMF commander. “He cares deeply about the well-being of our employees assigned to his team. His personal commitment and constant focused attention to detail set the standard for the Nimitz team and were directly responsible for this achievement. His efforts exemplified what we want from our leaders: to get the job done and to get it done safely.
After the success of the last yard period, expectations will be high as Nimitz prepares for its next maintenance period in 2018.
“During the 20-month overhaul of the 41-year-old ship, the Nimitz and PSNS team recorded the lowest mishap rate, by more than 50 percent, of any equivalent project on record,” said Cmdr. Jason Thompson, a native of El Paso, Texas, Nimitz’ Safety Officer. “It didn’t happen by luck; leadership on both sides proved instrumental in maintaining a safety focused culture, and a cooperative environment where everyone was empowered to improve the safety aspects of any process or activity. Our safety team looks forward to building on the relationships formed during the last overhaul, and we are focused on lowering the mishap rate even further.”
Nimitz is currently underway in the Pacific Ocean with Carrier Air Wing 11, Destroyer Squadron 9 and the rest of Carrier Strike Group 11 on a regularly scheduled deployment.
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ian Kinkead