Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lauren Howes
BREMERTON, Wash. – While underway conducting sea trials, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) completed a full test of all aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) systems, Nov. 7-10.
“Completing our AFFF certification is essential to the mission,” said Master Chief Damage Controlman Michael MacDonald, from Port Orchard, Wash. “Without the certification we could not have aircraft onboard.”
The tests are required for the congressionally-mandated material inspection by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) team. INSURV, typically held every 30 months, is a thorough, all-encompassing inspection of nearly every aspect of a Navy vessel in terms of material, maintenance and safety.
“During DPIA, engineering department worked with the Carrier Engineering Maintenance Assist Team and combat systems department to troubleshoot all AFFF systems to ensure we were ready for the test,” said MacDonald.
Once the ship was underway, Stennis Sailors discharged the AFFF sprinkler system over more than 1,000 feet throughout the flight deck and hangar bays.
AFFF, a synthetic foam consisting of 94 parts water, is used in combating class “Bravo” fires, or fuel fires in reactor and engineering spaces, as well as the hangar bay and flight deck.
“We train for scenarios in which we would use AFFF, but this is the first time I have ever actually seen the system in use,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Chelsea Dell, from Altoona, Pa. “It was really cool being a part of the training since it is something that not many Sailors get to see.”
After a full day of testing the 13 groups of hangar bay sprinklers, the rest of the week was spent testing the other systems throughout the ship, including 60 hose reels, 21 flight deck zones, two emergency diesel spaces, three JP-5 pump rooms, nine weapons elevators, and four propulsion space sprinkler systems.
Stennis, the flagship of the John C. Stennis Strike Group, completed sea trials Nov. 10.