NORFOLK (NNS) -- Aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) made a 1 1/2-hour transit across the James River on her way to Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) to begin an approximate four-year refueling complex overhaul maintenance period, Aug. 4.
Various departments were designated specific tasks, ensuring the ship was "manned and ready" to execute the move. The ship's air department was responsible for ensuring there was enough fuel readily available to power the ship's emergency diesel generators, which power the ship when the turbine generators are offline. The ship's supply department was responsible for ensuring the crew members were fed during the transit, and the ship's deck department provided line handlers for the departure from Pier 12, Naval Station Norfolk.
"George Washington's departure from Norfolk marks the completion of the most comprehensive and successful early-start work package ever, directly enabling an on-schedule commencement for her refueling complex overhaul," said Capt. Glenn Jamison, commanding officer, George Washington. "We are excited this day has arrived. For the past several months, Sailors have been working tirelessly and in lock-step with our shipyard teammates preparing the ship for her arrival to Newport News Shipyard."
Prior to going through refueling complex overhaul, George Washington and her crew underwent multiple evolutions that prepared them for this period. Some milestones accomplished by the crew included the early completion of the Shipboard Consolidated Offload and Outfitting Plan (SCOOP), and the completion of "Smart Start." The ship completed this evolution 25 percent earlier than scheduled, faster than any other Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in the fleet.
"Everything had to be out of the way," said Cmdr. James Mosman, the ship's chief engineer. "Clearing all of the workspaces on the ship just mitigated the possibility of any delays, thus setting us up for success going in. With not only evolutions like SCOOP, but getting ready in general, we (George Washington's crew and ship's force) had to be a team. We are a team."
"In getting the equipment ready to go, getting systems lined up, removing things, we've built relationship with the shipyard personnel," he continued. "We're honest with each other; we meet and talk every day. We did this together."
The refueling complex overhaul process is performed only once during a ship's 50-year lifespan and involves upgrades to nearly every system and space on the ship.
"We thank the city of Norfolk, Captain Rich McDaniel, commander, Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Station Norfolk Port Operations for the tremendous support and hospitality we have received since arriving to Norfolk," said Jamison. "We now look forward to our continued work with Newport News Shipyard to ultimately deliver back to the fleet a refueled and fully-modernized, capital warship ready to serve our nation for the next quarter of a century."
With the pre-refueling complex overhaul evolutions complete, George Washington and her crew are looking ahead to complete their scheduled maintenance period on time.
"The more we look ahead and prepare, the better off we'll be in the long run," said Mosman. "If we get complacent, if we don't prepare, if we don't communicate, in the end, it tends to get more challenging. Crew one takes the ship into the dock, crew two are those Sailors who go through RCOH with the ship [and] crew three takes the ship out of the yards. We, as crew one, need to set crew three up for success. If we don't do our job well, we aren't setting the grounds to ease the pain of coming out of the yards for the Sailors to come."
George Washington will be the sixth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier to undergo refueling complex overhaul. She will be dry-docked at NNS, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, for a pre-determined, 48-month maintenance period.
For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.