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US Navy carrier Kennedy’s reactor sailors start operating aboard ship

28 February 2020
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Reactor Department sailors have begun to work and train aboard aircraft carrier Source: Jane’s/Michael Fabey

US Navy (USN) carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) Reactor Department sailors started to operate aboard the ship this week, marking another early milestone for the ship's construction, which is being completed in the shipyard at Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

"Sailors are beginning to operate on board three months ahead of schedule," Captain Todd Marzano, Kennedy commanding officer, said on 27 February in a statement.

As the sailors move into the compartments aboard the ship, they and the USN take ownership of the newly completed ship spaces - considered to be a construction milestone.

"Working aboard the ship in our permanent spaces," Capt Marzano said, "enables us to begin the process of taking ownership of our equipment, systems, and compartments, which brings us another important step closer to delivering JFK to the fleet."

Kennedy Master Chief Machinist's Mate Gerrit Assink noted, "It allows the Reactor Department to settle into the day-to-day routine."

The sailors will continue their training and certification process aboard Kennedy as they prepare to operate the equipment on board.

Newport News Shipbuilding's construction team was able to complete and turn over 63 compartments to the Kennedy crew more than four months earlier than had been the case during the construction of the carrier-class lead ship, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The turned-over compartments include a training facility, offices, and habitable spaces. Altogether, 2,700 compartments will be turned over to the ship's crew by the time the carrier is finished.

The completed spaces allow sailors to begin training on the ship while shipyard workers continue final outfitting and testing.

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