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If placing a ship in commission is the goal of PRECOM, then passing the Inspection and Survey INSURV) board is a major milestone on the way to realizing that goal. Before any Navy ship joins the operating forces, the INSURV people are first given the opportunity to find any reason why that ship is not ready. On the eve of acceptance trials, the INSURV inspection team came aboard to affirm or refute the shipyard and the crew’s belief the Mississippi was ready- finally and after months of preparation-to join the fleet. Throughout the ship, the crew and shipyard workers all had the same thoughts: Had they overlooked anything? Was everything as it should be? Was there anything more that could be done to make the ship ready? Time had run out for those who entertained any doubts. The INSURV inspectors, in white coveralls and carrying  clipboards, came aboard the ship. The Navy’s experts in all phases of shipboard operations began an exhaustive inspection that saw them “crawling into, under, over and around anything and everything,” according to one astonished third class petty officer. As the INSURV team moved through the ship, each Mississippi crewman-from the junior seaman to the senior officer- knew he was personally responsible for getting his part of the ship established and operating smoothly.  Everything from Mississippi’s missile launchers to the deep-fat fryers on the mess decks were getting a microscopic going over. This notion of personal involvement as opposed to “just doing the job” explains why many relish the long hours and hard work of PRECOM duty. It explains, too, why people like Chief Fullmer will continue to request this type of duty. “When all the setting up is done, the PRECOM detail is over and the ship placed in commission, I’ll be able to walk away from the ship and say ‘I built that.’ Everything that is good or bad about it is so because I made it that way.” And if the results of the INSURV are any indication, there are a whole bunch of Mississippi crew members proud of the way they’ve built their ship.
A chief boatswain’s mate signals to stop letting out the anchor.
Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic’s helicopter arrives onboard during sea trials.
USS Mississippi (CG N 40) under way.
This article appearned on All Hands Magazine- November 1978  Issue 472
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