On Tuesday, I visited USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL (DDG 81) to observe the Corrosion Control Assist Team (CCAT) in action. The CCAT is a joint NAVSEA and Fleet initiative created to educate and assist Fleet Sailors in ship preservation and corrosion control. The team conducts training and brings expertise, tools and new technology to our ships during an intensive corrosion control and prevention visit.
My visit was led by BMC Anthony Pici and from the very beginning it was evident to me that his team has complete ownership (read: control) of the problem. BMC Pici has engaged the entire ship and created a “Damage Control-like” environment in which every member of the crew is responsible for some aspect of corrosion control and prevention, just like every member of the crew is expected to have fundamental DC skills. His Corrosion Control Tiger Team shares the knowledge, tactics and techniques they learned from the CCAT to ensure every Sailor on the ship is capable of contributing to the fight against corrosion. I was very encouraged by the work being done by BMC Pici and his team and look forward to a future update.
The retired BMCM who led the CCAT gave me a terrific walk-around pointing out the many things done in construction, material selection, etc that add significantly to every ship’s corrosion problems. There are many things we can do differently to help ourselves and our Sailors – we’re going to get after them.
In addition to my discussions with the crew of CHURCHILL, I received feedback from the crew of USS LABOON – another one of our ships whose crew benefited from the CCAT training. LABOON’s crew provided the following best practices that have been particularly useful in their fight against corrosion:
- Created a 10-person Corrosion Control Division (CCD) in support of an initial Corrosion Control Assistance Team (CCAT) visit. Based on the success achieved, CCD became a permanent organization onboard.
- CCD conducts topside preservation and attends training on corrosion control procedures; during inclement weather their focus shifts to fan rooms, castleways, bilges and interior spaces. CCD is responsible for managing the paint locker and corrosion control tool issue.
- Members of CCD are volunteers and are "IA'd" from their division; they report permanently to CCD and have no PMS, DCPO, admin or other responsibilities with their former divisions. CCD personnel conduct preservation inport and underway and are in a duty free status during the period of their assignment.
- A junior officer (LTJG, SWO qualified) provides day-to-day supervision and addresses admin responsibilities.
- Length of assignment lasts approximately 3 months, at which time CCD personnel turn over with a trained replacement. Outgoing CCD personnel return to their former division to share and inculcate corrosion control best practices within their division.
During my visit to CHURCHILL, I asked BMC Pici what I needed to know that I didn’t know and what he needed me to do; after some hesitation, BMC Pici looked me in the eye and said he needed paint floats and that there weren’t any available. I was really stunned by BMC Pici’s answer. As I quickly reflected on my days in command (in Long Beach and Norfolk), paint floats were never an issue. What the hell happened? Well, I don’t know yet what happened, but I do know that Chief Pici was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT – we’re down to two (that’s right, two) paint floats at NAVSTA NORFOLK. I’m on it – RADM Dave Thomas, CNSL, and I are going to fix this as soon as we can.
I will also ensure the necessary scaffolding and staging are installed at the beginning of all CMAVs and CNO avails to give our Sailors access to hard-to-reach areas. I’ll do my part to give you the resources you need, but it’s going to take a consistent and steady effort from all hands on deck to win this fight.
Thanks again to the crews of USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL and USS LABOON for taking the time to share their best practices and show us how they get it done every day.
All the best, JCHjr