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Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic

USS Donald Cook Independently Completes Essential Repairs to Starboard Shaft on Patrol Stop Overseas

by ENS Chase Liddon, USS Donald Cook
04 August 2021

Earlier this year, the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) crew independently completed essential repairs to its starboard shaft while in port Souda Bay, Greece.
While on its final patrol in the Mediterranean Sea as a Forward Deployed Naval Forces – Europe (FDNF-E) ship, Donald Cook experienced a casualty to the starboard shaft that typically requires shipyard-level work to repair.  Left unrepaired, the casualty could have been highly detrimental to the ship’s mission in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.  However, the engineering and supply teams were able to conduct initial repairs to get the shaft operational again.
As the ship’s Chief Engineer, Lt. Cmdr. Ashleé Dillard-Houston well knows, time constraints, location and operational commitments often make shipboard technical assistance or distant support difficult.  An afloat command’s ability to operate in a self-sufficient manner is essential to maintaining mission readiness.
“Casualties like the one we experienced typically keep a ship pierside or without the ability to use that shaft,” she said.  “Through their exceptional level of knowledge and expertise, our Sailors were able to locate and install essential shafting elements to allow Donald Cook to stay in the fight without limitations.”
 Dillard-Houston further praised the crew’s high degree of self-sufficiency adding, “I am extremely proud of our Sailors and their demonstration of the fighting spirit of Donald Cook. They ensured we could continue our [FDNF-E] patrol with all four main engines and both shafts.
 “We stay ready, so we don’t have to get ready,” she added.

By conducting the repairs themselves, the crew was not only able to resume the mission, but also save the Navy approximately $100,000 and 200 man-hours, which would have otherwise been spent on technical experts repairing the casualty in a foreign port. 
Donald Cook is currently operating in the Atlantic Ocean in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security in order to ensure access, deter aggression, and defend U.S. ally and partner interests. 
An Arleigh Burke-class, guided-missile destroyer, Donald Cook was commissioned Dec. 4, 1998, in Philadelphia, and is named for Marine Col. Donald G. Cook, who was taken as a prisoner of war while serving in Vietnam and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  The ship is homeported in Mayport, Fla., and is assigned to Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT).
SURFLANT mans, trains and equips assigned surface forces and shore activities, ensuring a capable force for conducting prompt and sustained operations in support of United States national interests.  The SURFLANT force is composed of nearly 80 ships and more than 30 shore commands.
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