YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (GW) (CVN 73) relocated to their new home away from home, shifting living quarters from the ship to barracks rooms at Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) Nov. 22.
As part of the Navy's Homeport Ashore Program (HPA), outstanding shipboard Sailors, E-4 and below, who are not eligible for housing, are authorized to reside in designated barracks on base. The move came following George Washington's return from its first deployment as the Navy's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier.
Leaders say all personnel involved in the transition worked hard to make sure George Washington Sailors were settled into their new rooms before the holidays.
According to CFAY Homeport Ashore Manager, Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW) Matthew Abel of Bowie, Md., the base provided fully furnished rooms to accommodate more than 1,000 George Washington Sailors.
"It's more freedom for the Sailors," stated Abel. "Specifically for the GW, they are providing the top rated E-4 and below, squared away Sailors a chance to make the right decisions and uphold their freedom."
"I know if I had this I would probably made a senior chief a lot quicker," said Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (AW/ SW) Louis Gladley, George Washington's Homeport Ashore coordinator. "It would have boosted my morale, which is the same thing going for these guys now."
When asked how Sailors can continue enjoying the freedom and privacy of an HPA room, Gladley's replied,
"They have to maintain excellence in the Navy and do the right thing all the time. Staying out of trouble is the key."
With the holiday season just around the corner, the prospect of living off the ship is already improving morale and quality of life.
"This is wonderful," said Aviation Boatwain's Mate (Handling) 3rd class (AW) Andrew Hill from Orlando, Fla. "I will be able purchase my own Internet connection and get a phone so any family and friends can call me directly from the States to my room."
"It makes life a million times better over here," Hill added. "Being able to get off the boat after working hours, allows you to sit down, relax and be able to walk around the house with your shoes off. That will make a huge difference."
For more news from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, visit www.navy.mil/local/cfay/.