Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathleen O’Keefe

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

When XO’s daily countdown finally reached Day 0 on Sunday, Stennis kicked off the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), an assessment scheduled to finish Mar. 4.

Mandated by Congress in 1868, INSURV is a monumental material inspection that tests Stennis’ ability to carry on sustained combat operations.

Inspectors are grading Stennis’ weapons, radar, engineering, and navigation systems as well as living conditions and the ship’s maintenance program.

“INSURV is an important part of showing the government we are maintaining national assets,” said Cmdr. Stevin Johnson, Stennis’ INSURV Coordinator. “We want to ensure that million-dollar ships will be in service for years to come.”

Stennis recently completed a practice of events from start to finish, said Cmdr. Paul Keyes, the INSURV Central Coordinator.

“We learned a lot of great lessons that we are applying to improve our performance for the real thing,” said Keyes. “We are definitely prepared.”

Once the inspection is complete, Stennis will receive a grade of either “fit for sustained combat operations” or “not fit for sustained combat operations.” The results will then be reported to the Secretary of the Navy and Congress if the ship is fit for duty.

To prepare for the inspection, Stennis created tiger teams to find and fix damage control, habitability and electrical discrepancies. The teams will continue to correct discrepancies until INSURV is complete.

“The teams have played a major role in preparing for INSURV,” said Chief Damage Controlman (SW/ AW) Jim Head, the head supervisor of the damage control Tiger team. “They’ve worked with other departments to fix several hundred discrepancies throughout the ship. All of them have been working hard to get us ready for the inspection.”

Every department aboard Stennis has played an active role in prepping their spaces for INSURV.

“As challenging as the preparation can be, I believe INSURV is very important for all Sailors,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class (AW) Chris Somerville. “The inspection makes sure that we are doing the right maintenance on the equipment that could be helping someone or even saving their lives someday. Our main focus is making sure all of the equipment we are responsible for is in good working condition. Whether we were working on float coats, AFFF systems or the aircraft elevators, we made sure to do our part in representing Stennis during the inspection.”

Damage Control division was responsible for the maintenance and testing of the entire ship’s damage control equipment, with Sailors working long hours to achieve the task.

“I think we’re doing really well as a department,” said Damage Controlman 3rd Class (SW) Meagan Lofton. “We’ve been working so hard making sure we fixed all of our discrepancies and tested all our equipment. Everyone has been doing such a good job.”

Some aboard Stennis motivated others to go out and find problems on the ship. Lt. Michael Palmer, the Electrical Officer and self proclaimed “candy man”, offered a candy bar to anyone that alerted him after finding an electrical safety discrepancy.

“That little incentive was very successful,” said Palmer. “In a week and a half I gave away about 50 candy bars. It was really helpful in helping us locate hard to find problems.”

Palmer added that electrical safety information has also been sent out via email and on informational posters about electrical periodicity checks.

“Our goal isn’t just to pass INSURV, but to make our ship as safe as possible for Sailors,” said Palmer.

Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Kyle VanSickle said they have done more than 6,000 electrical safety checks since January. They also verified that all tool issue petty officers are qualified, all equipment is electrically safe and that work centers are in total compliance with shipboard instruction.

“I have complete and total confidence in Stennis’ electrical safety program,” said VanSickle. “I believe we are going to pass INSURV with flying colors.”

“We have started strong, but we still have a long way to go,” said Keyes. “We can’t let up.”

INSURV is part of the Navy’s commitment to maintaining a combat-ready carrier capable of achieving America’s maritime strategy and protecting its interests at home and abroad.