NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) navigation department began making coordinated preparations for the turning of the ship with Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding March 25 in Newport News, Va.
Turning the ship is an important milestone for Carl Vinson, which is nearing the end of its refueling complex overhaul, an extensive maintenance period in which the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to prepare for another 25 years, or more, of service. During the turn, Carl Vinson's propellers and propulsion plants will be tested for the first time since it entered the shipyard in 2005.
"Gold Eagle" Sailors collaborated with crew members on board the tugboat Huntington to look over water charts and patterns in an effort to make the turning of the carrier as easy as possible.
"Riding on the tugboat helped my department understand what it is like to go underway and manage depth changes and other important factors for maneuvers," said Master Chief Quartermaster (SW) Herbert Kelton.
Kelton said navigation personnel will man their stations and perform as if the ship were getting underway during the turning. They will also manage bearings and plot the ship's position in a real-life scenario.
"When the ship is turning, the propulsion plants and the screws [propellers] will be tested," said Quartermaster Seaman Daniel Gastaldi. "Those are huge evolutions that we haven't really been able to conduct or observe before now."
Cmdr. Christopher Dennis, Carl Vinson navigator, explained that the point of meeting the tugboat captain and working with his crew was to determine whether or not there had been any changes in the river's underwater geography since the aircraft carrier made its move to its current pier-side location.
"The whole point of taking this tugboat ride is to compare notes, charts, and knowledge with the tugboat captain," said Dennis. "Our crew will be training, but the tug crew will be in control of the movements."
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.