NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- For the first time in two years, the crew of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) was aboard the aircraft carrier as the ship began a six-day fast cruise in the Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard April 11, marking the completion of an extended maintenance availability.
Enterprise's fast cruise is designed to shake rust off the Sailors - and the ship - as both operate as if they were underway for the week.
The aircraft carrier is currently conducting the fast cruise exercise in preparation for sea trials scheduled later in April 2010.
"It has been a long time coming," said Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (AW/SW) Eric Young, Enterprise's Air Department leading chief petty officer. "However, I already know what to expect. I am much more excited for my Sailors and their first experience of the real Navy, as opposed to what we've been doing for the last couple of years."
That sentiment was shared by many Enterprise Sailors, most of whom have had to walk more than one mile to the ship each morning through the sprawling shipyard complex. Many of the newer Sailors, having never been underway, are more anxious as they approach their first taste of life at sea.
"It will be tough not seeing my family and friends as much," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Deanna Bonner. "It's worth it knowing that I'm leaving behind a few to go out to sea and protect millions."
Much will be expected of Enterprise Sailors as they begin the fast cruise. Drills, such as man overboard, medical emergency and general quarters are routine, and on top of these training evolutions, Sailors have to balance meals, sleep, physical training and, if possible, free time.
"Honestly, I wasn't very excited about it at first," said Aviation Support Equipment Technician Airman Kristin Knaeble. "However, fast cruise will give me plenty of time to focus on training and warfare qualifications, which will make me a much more effective Sailor."
For more information about USS Enterprise visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn65.