NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) enjoyed the first meal served on the newly refurbished forward mess decks after more than four years in overhaul March 30, during a ceremonial grand opening.
The ceremony focused on the significance of the reopening in marking the ship's progress as it nears the end of its refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) period.
"This is another key milestone in the process of bringing the ship back to life," said Commanding Officer Capt. Ted Carter. "Getting everyone out of the aft mess shows that we're almost ready to go underway."
A cake-cutting ceremony featured a specially prepared five sheet cake, made in the form of the Carl Vinson seal.
"There are a lot of people who worked hard to make this day possible," said Carter. "This ship is finishing one of the most complex industrial efforts, and we're bringing the pride and ownership of this ship right back to its proper conditions."
"Gold Eagle" leadership credited the success leading up to the final stretch of RCOH to the dedication and teamwork of the Sailors on board.
"This is our fifth of seven galleys completed,'" said Cmdr. Mike Ropiak, supply department head. "The next item on our list is finishing the staterooms, and then we'll be ready to go out to sea. This really is a huge milestone for our crew."
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 (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.