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Posted: 12/17/2001 8:16:22 AM EDT
Today: December 17, 2001 at 8:30:24 PST Captain Stripped of Kennedy Command JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- The captain removed from the USS John F. Kennedy because of a failed inspection says inspectors showed up immediately after the aircraft carrier returned from a week at sea. "It was a bad day for the Big John, and she burped," Capt. Maurice Joyce said. "The week before, she was glorious." But Joyce, stripped of his command on Thursday, accepted responsibility for the ship's poor "material condition." "When you're in command, you're responsible for every aspect of your ship," Joyce said in an interview with The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville published Saturday. "No matter what you may have identified or who you may have identified it to, you're still responsible." The ship is still expected to leave next month for a six-month mission to relieve the USS Theodore Roosevelt battle group in the Arabian Sea region. But before it departs, all deficiencies must be corrected. Inspectors cited failing aircraft elevators and catapults, flight deck firefighting systems, main engines and general maintenance in a stem-to-stern inspection conducted between Dec. 2 and Dec. 7. The Kennedy spent a week at sea immediately before the inspection, training new pilots. Some of the problems, including steam leaks that damaged the plane-launching catapults, occurred during that week, Joyce said. "This didn't give us the time to work those repairs," Joyce said, noting that evaluators gave the ship high marks during a performance evaluation in Puerto Rico in October. Capt. David Denis, commander of the Atlantic Fleet's Board of Inspection and Survey, wrote in a preliminary report that the "USS John F. Kennedy could not prudently demonstrate safe and reliable underway operations," the Times-Union reported. Denis also said the ship was "seriously degraded in her ability to conduct air operations" and that "topside corrosion ... was the worst observed in three years." Navy officials in Washington said last week that the ship's failed inspection had nothing to do with its combat readiness. --- On the Net: USS John F. Kennedy: [url]http://www.navy.mil/homepages/cv67[/url]
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