Shipyard supports USS San Francisco’s transition to new role

Capt. Greg Burton, commanding officer of PHNSY & IMF, congratulates Duane Hiromasa, a welder assigned to Shop 26N and a member of the valve replacement team assigned to special work on USS San Francisco (SSN 711) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Photo by Shayne Hensley

MA2 Dale Smotherman

Public Affairs

Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) experts played a key role in completing complex work required to prepare a former attack submarine for a new role as a moored training ship which will support the U.S. Navy’s submarine force.

A team of 88 shipyarders have been carrying out a valve and elbow replacement on USS San Francisco (SSN 711) in Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) since July 17.

This Special Emphasis Job (SEJ) was scheduled to be completed in 38 days, but PHNSY & IMF Code 361, a division and project team of the shipyard’s 300N Nuclear Production Department, set a targeted completion date of 32 Days. The team from Pearl Harbor was up to the challenge, completing the job in 25 days, a full thirteen days ahead of schedule.

Pearl Harbor’s support of this project was essential to ensure key system component integrity will be maintained for San Francisco’s new duties as a moored training ship.

SEJ’s refer to critical and complex work that has been deemed outside of routine shipyard capabilities and functions.

PHNSY & IMF Commanding Officer Capt. Greg Burton said the collaboration between the two shipyards proved the importance of the services both organizations provide.

“Our country has four public and two private nuclear-capable shipyards, and we can’t always do what is assigned to us,” Burton said.

“When you get down into the specific skills needed, sometimes there are imbalances, and sometimes one yard has a specific skill. When the shipyards share, we learn faster. The high-velocity learning piece is critical, and not just because it’s a Chief of Naval Operations’ priority, but because we recognize it as a corporation and we’ve set up communities of practice so we can share our knowledge. If we rely on the shipyards as single entities, we’re less efficient. Being able to share these teams allows us to get the nation’s work done.”

Jantzen Nishikawa, Code 361 Project Superintendent, emphasized that cooperation between Pearl Harbor and Norfolk as critical to the successful completion of the complex job.

“We functioned as one shipyard with NNSY to support our “Big Navy” needs and mission,” Nishikawa said. “We eliminated the mindset of ‘NNSY jobs are NNSY jobs and PHNSY jobs are PHNSY jobs.’ Working with Norfolk, we were able to execute this job with a ‘One Shipyard’ mindset.”

Going into this assignment, PHNSY & IMF had limited experience in executing SEJ’s of this magnitude at off-site locations. The sharing and implementation of best practices and experiences from NNSY and the other public shipyards empowered Pearl Harbor shipyarders to anticipate and engage problems and challenges before they were encountered.

The work completed by the PHNSY & IMF team was praised by Capt. Scott Brown, commanding officer of NNSY.

“I wanted to pass on my thanks to you and your team for the tremendous work on USS San Francisco,” Brown said. “Outstanding professionals with first time quality on a very difficult job. NNSY and the MTS program thank you. Well done!”

To learn more about PHNSY & IMF, visit

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Category: News