San Diego (NNS) -- USS Nimitz (CVN 68) completed an onload of 393 privately owned vehicles (POVs) Dec. 2, as part of an Opportune Lift (OPLIFT) program to assist Sailors and their families with the ship's homeport shift from Naval Base Coronado, to Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash.
The OPLIFT was a priority for Nimitz leaders to offer to Sailors who have less than 12 months remaining on board or have received permanent change of station orders, but are still moving to Washington with the ship.
Sailors who fell into these categories were not entitled to receive a homeport change certificate which would have allowed them to ship their vehicle at government expense.
"We're doing this to assist Sailors who weren't entitled to a homeport change certificate," said Lt. j.g. Beau Blanchard, USS Nimitz homeport change coordinator. "Now our guys don't have to pay out of pocket to get their cars up there. It's going to save them a lot of money, plus it is good peace of mind knowing your car is coming with you."
OPLIFT was also offered to Sailors who preferred to ship their vehicles with them aboard Nimitz.
"I think it is good we're doing this as a service for our guys who didn't qualify for the homeport change certificate," said Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate Roberto Ruvalcaba. "It's a good idea helping them out this way. "This is just a great opportunity."
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman Reginald Smith, who opted to have his POV loaded onto Nimitz, was glad to be given the chance to have his car shipped via OPLIFT.
"I'd rather do this than drive up there again; it was a long drive to Washington," said Smith. "This helped me save some money because it was free."
OPLIFT is a common way to transport POV's and other goods for Sailors who are changing permanent duty stations. However, most OPLIFT operations are done aboard Military Sealift Command vessels, so seeing POVs taking up space on an aircraft carrier was something new, even for Ruvalcaba.
"This is certainly something different," said Ruvalcaba. "I've been in for 26 years, and I've never seen anything like on any of the other four aircraft carriers I've been on."
For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.