From USS Iwo Jima Public Affairs 

The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) departed its homeport of Naval Station Mayport for the first time in 2017 Feb. 12 following the completion of a three-month continuous (CMAV) maintenance availability.

During the availability, Iwo Jima's crew worked with civilian employees and contractors from various local and external organizations to provide the ship with necessary repairs and alterations, returning Iwo Jima to fully operational status and ensuring complete mission readiness.

Key highlights during the CMAV included major repairs to a variety of vital engineering equipment, modernization and upgrades to the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services and the return of the port aircraft elevator to fully operational status.

"This repair availability came at the exact right time, after a fast-paced fall, where we were underway multiple times, and prior to the ship finishing up the basic training phase and executing a complex, mid-cycle material assessment," said Capt. James Midkiff, Iwo Jima's commanding officer. "The ship's crew and a team of contractors came together with a lot of hard work and long hours to get us to this point.  Now we will all benefit by going back to sea on a ship with a higher level of combat readiness."

The long period in its homeport also provided Iwo Jima with a significant training opportunity.  More than 200 Iwo Jima Sailors participated in various courses throughout the in port period, allowing the ship to fill mission-critical billets and significantly increase watchstanding and shipboard capabilities for the 1,100-man crew.  The ship also successfully completed Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection, Damage Control and Medical certifications during the availability.

"Availabilities like this matter the most when it comes to training," said Lt. Samara Mitchell, Iwo Jima's Training Officer. "Between the knowledge we gained from Afloat Training Group Mayport and what our Sailors learned at school, we are now a more efficient unit with Sailors who have the additional training to make this ship an even greater success on the waterfront."

Iwo Jima is currently underway participating in a series of qualifications and certifications as part of the basic phase of training in preparation for future operations and deployments.