MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, NC --
“Oscar,” a 75-foot mechanized landing craft operated by U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to the Navy Boat Docks at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, underwent annual maintenance at a commercial boat yard near Beaufort, N.C., Oct. 10-31, 2018.
The aging vessel was refurbished to extend its useful current life supporting operations for Cherry Point's remote bombing targets in eastern North Carolina. From sand-blasting barnacles off the bottom, to applying multiple coats of paint, to repairing dings and dents the boat has suffered throughout the past year; every effort was made to keep the vessel seaworthy for future operations. The propellers were also removed and sent out for inspection and, if necessary, repair.
While working on the boat, the Sailors worked together to overcome multiple challenges ranging from unexpected delays to missing parts.
“The most difficult part was manning [our day-to-day posts],” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Cameron McConnell, a boatswain's mate assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “On top of doing this we still have our job to do at Cherry Point, as well as Bombing Target 11.”
The Sailors took Oscar to a commercial boat yard to conduct maintenance because of the yard's special capability to hoist the entire vessel from the water, allowing for maintenance on the lower hull and propellers.
“Once [the boat] was out, there were issues we couldn’t see while it was in the water,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Cornelius Metz, a boatswain's mate assigned to H&HS. “We did notice some issues with the starboard rudder having some cracks in it, so we noted it, put it in our game plan and came out ahead of schedule.”
In addition to the annual maintenance on Oscar, the Sailors also conduct annual maintenance on their five other naval vessels to maintain readiness throughout the year.
After three weeks of hard work, and to the joy of everyone who worked on it, it was finally time to drop Oscar back in the water and sail the boat back to the air station.
“My favorite part is seeing how it looks afterward,” said McConnell. “We take a lot of pride in how stuff looks. You get to see what you have done the past few weeks and it makes you feel good.”