Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Emily Johnston
NAVAL BASE KITSAP-BREMERTON, Wash. – Sailors assigned to the aircraft intermediate maintenance department (AIMD) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) moved their equipment from the ship in Bremerton, to the Support Equipment Rework Facility (SERF) in Everett, Jan. 22 through Feb. 9.
After every deployment, AIMD moves their support equipment to SERF to disassemble, clean, paint and reassemble all of it in preparation for the next deployment. The majority of AIMD’s aviation support equipment technicians (AS) stay in Everett for the bulk of the yard period to execute this maintenance. They are currently scheduled to be in Everett from January 2018 to April 2019.
Aircraft tow tractors, tow bars, spotting dollies, and jack lifts are all moved to Everett via large trucks. A sending team stays on the ship in Bremerton to load and deliver the equipment to a receiving team in Everett who unload and begin the maintenance process.
AIMD’s support equipment divisions’ main mission is to provide support equipment to air deparment, supply department and the embarked squadrons during deployment. Their equipment is vital to flight operations, making the aviation support equipment a key player in the overall mission of the ship’s deployments.
“Without our gear, they would not be able to do their jobs,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Tania Hogan, from Libby, Montana. “Our motto is ‘No air support without ground support.’”
While at SERF, the AS’s are split into five teams. The first four teams manage disassembling, cleaning and reassembling all of the gear, while the fifth team is qualified through the Navy Aircraft Paint and Final Finish course to repaint the gear to create a final product.
“This maintenance period is important because during deployment, the support equipment gets used and abused, not only by the Sailors working with it, but by the saltwater environment, which causes corrosion on the gear,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Jay Corners, from Thornton, Colorado.
This period is beneficial not only to the gear, but to the Sailors working on the gear as well. It provides a great learning opportunity and a chance to step into leadership roles.
“Sailors temporarily assigned to Everett will become intimately knowledgeable of the gear during breakdown and buildup,” said Hogan. “They will have to step up into the role of supervising a group of junior Sailors through every evolution involving the gear, set up work spaces for individual Support Equipment, manage their work load, learn the processes for shipping the equipment to and from the ship as well as figure out ways to overcome any obstacles they may face.”
Once the maintenance phase is complete, all support equipment will be transported back to the ship in good-as-new condition along with it’s maintenance crew, ready to execute any and all tasks demanded by Nimitz on her next deployment.
Nimitz is currently preparing for a docking-planned incremental availability at PSNS and Intermediate Maintenance Facility where the ship will receive scheduled maintenance and upgrades.