By Douglas Denzine
Public Affairs Specialist
Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) electrical engineer Matt Pittard, from Valley, Alabama, and mechanical engineer Forrest Erdossy provided on-site technical support in Busan, South Korea to USS Stethem (DDG 63) on Oct. 27, resolving a casualty report to the ship’s Steering System 2B Hydraulic Power Unit (HPU), allowing the ship to be mission ready.
The HPU, which is responsible for controlling the rudders that steer the ship, was found to have a bad connection on the S3 switch, which was repaired by Ship’s Force with the oversight of MARMC’s engineers, restoring full capability to the system.
“By using the electrical prints, we were able to trace the signal and found a bad electrical connection on one of the switches,” said Pittard. “Working with the ship’s 2M [Micro Miniature] technician, we were able to have the connection re-soldered.”
“While the team was on-site, they also groomed the system by verifying correct hydraulic system pressures and adjusted the 2A rudder speeds to give reliable control of the steering system,” added MARMC’s Hydraulics and Ship Controls Branch Head Richard Krewinghaus.
MARMC specializes in Fleet Technical Assistance (FTA), and have become accustomed to working outside of their Area of Responsibility (AOR). The evening the repair was completed, Krewinghaus received a message highlighting the efforts of his team.
“Last night we had a conversation with the commanding officer (CO) of the Stethem,” said Cmdr. Andrew LaValley, a Type Desk Officer for Commander, Naval Surface Pacific, Cruiser Destroyer Readiness Division. “He confirmed that the techs came on board and successfully restored the system. According to the CO, the techs knowledge and performance was second to none.”
Engineers and technicians from the regional maintenance center (RMC) community routinely use these experiences as an opportunity to conduct on-the-job Training with junior sailors who may not be as familiar with the systems as they could be.
“It’s fun and great to be able to make a difference,” said Erdossy. “Especially for the individuals who don’t have the training, it’s nice to be able to make the ship visit and give them some relief and help them continue meeting their mission.”
“We had the Ship’s Force GSE [Gas Turbine Systems Technician-Electrical] personnel with us the entire time and showed them step-by-step how to methodically trace a signal through the circuit,” said Pittard. “Since we were on-site, we also took the time to run through the entire system and identified some other minor issues and advised the Sailors how to correct them to meet requirements.”
Word spread of the great work performed by MARMC’s engineers and before leaving the 7th Fleet AOR, the CO of USS Chafee (DDG 90) asked Pittard and Erodossy if they could assist with assessing an issue on board his vessel as well.
“We met with the EMC [Chief Electrician’s Mate] aboard Chafee, and he explained they were encountering network issues,” said Pittard. “We were able to troubleshoot and confirm what Ship’s Force thought was wrong, which gave them a direction on what was needed in order to resolve the issue.”
“This happens often when we are on location in a different AOR. Other RMC’s or ships will ask us for a second opinion on issues they may be working on. It gives them confidence when we are able to affirm their findings and support their troubleshooting efforts,” said Erdossy.
MARMC’s Hydraulics and Ship Controls Branch is currently assisting USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) at Naval Station Norfolk.
“What’s great about our guys is if they are at a port and not working on their primary mission and another ship needs their support, they will help any ship in need anyway they can. They will even go outside of their area of expertise to help get gear assessed and back in working condition – that is the way all of my guys are,” said Krewinghaus.