BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) pulled into its new homeport at Bremerton's Delta Pier on Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Jan. 8 at 1 p.m.
Stennis moved to Bremerton, Wash., from San Diego to utilize NBK's overhaul facilities and to replace USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), which will be moving to Norfolk, Va., this week.
Stennis Sailors have been waiting for this change of homeport for months, but once the ship pulled out of port in San Diego, the excitement and anticipation could be felt in the air.
"I've never really had a chance to experience a real winter, but moving up north, I'll finally get to learn how to ski, snowboard and see what life is like in the Northwest," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Recruit Matthew Campbell.
While in transit from San Diego, the crew had a chance to speak with representatives from the Kitsap community.
"We have had a great trip here with an amazing delegation of volunteers from the local Kitsap community," said Capt. David H. Buss, the ship's commanding officer. "They were essential in helping our Sailors become acclimated to the community. As a matter of fact, some of our Sailors already plan to go to see the Seattle Sonics play tomorrow night."
Officers from the Kitsap County police department were also aboard to give safety briefs and answer any questions the Sailors had. The officers spoke mostly about weather safety and driving conditions in the Northwest. The briefs were given because many of the Sailors have never driven in the snow or experienced a real winter, but the ones who have are ready to be back.
"I couldn't be more ready to get back to that mountain air and those rainy seasons," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Diannah Ashburn, a Washington native.
The entire crew is excited about being stationed in the Northwest.
"Hundreds of personnel aboard specifically took orders to the Stennis to remain or, like me, return to this area," said Buss. "That alone should speak volumes about the Pacific Northwest and the quality of life this area is famous for."
Having representatives from the local community aboard was a welcome sight for the crew of Stennis because San Diego is the only home Stennis has known for six years.
Stennis' move to NBK was made to accommodate a Chief of Naval Operations policy to regularly rotate aircraft carriers. The overhaul facilities at Bremerton will aid the ship during its long-awaited dry-docking for renovations period.
"This homecoming will reunite families that have been apart for many months due to our recent deployment and change of homeport," said Buss. "The support, flexibility and commitment that our crew and families have demonstrated over the past year is a true testament to the strength of the Navy family. We all look forward to a strong relationship within the Kitsap community."
For more news from around the fleet, visit the Navy NewsStand at www.news.navy.mil.