NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) celebrated the grand opening of a new ship's store "mall" Aug. 18, as part of festivities marking the beginning of the ship's crew move aboard (CMA) evolution.
CMA is one of the most significant shipyard milestones during the aircraft carrier's 40-month refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) in Newport News.
During the ship's store opening ceremony, Commanding Officer Capt. Ted Carter made the first purchase and took part in a cake and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the event.
"The opening of this store is a great way to start our CMA," said Carter. "It will make a big difference in crew morale. All of the hard work has paid off, because it looks phenomenal."
Much of the credit for reviving the ship's store facility lies in the hands of Sailors assigned to the ship's S-3 division.
"Supply's S-3 division had 38 Sailors working long hours to accomplish this milestone, while maintaining the other ship's store, our vending, and laundry services on board," said Senior Chief Ship's Serviceman (SW/AW) Jeff Davidson, leading chief petty officer for S-3 division.
"In my 22 years of service, I have never seen Sailors work this hard, complain so little, and care about their ship and shipmates as much as the Sailors assigned to S-3 division."
Davidson added that in addition to raising morale levels by offering quality consumables for the crew at low prices, the division has transferred more than $200,000 to the ship's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) division during the last fiscal year alone.
Funds generated by the ship's store will be used by MWR to help provide free and low-cost activities for crew members year-round.
"The ship's store is for and about the crew, and it is crucial to morale," said Davidson. "It's important for a Sailor who's been working all day or night to be able to come here after work, have someone behind the counter greet them with a friendly smile, and buy a cold drink for a low price. It's the little things that count for keeping morale high."
According to ship's store personnel, the division has ordered and managed more than $100,000 worth of stock in preparation for the opening, while deep cleaning, painting, and refinishing display cases. The "mall" has also been decorated with artwork, emblems, and the S-3 division's moniker: Can do, will do, glad to.
"Everyone's efforts and late nights have helped us complete our mission to open this store on time for CMA," said Ship's Serviceman Seaman Amber Ortiz. "Our mission now is serving the morale of the crew. That's always our main priority."
Carl Vinson is undergoing its scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.