WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy announced Dec. 22, USS Nimitz (CVN 68) will remain stationed in Bremerton, Washington, through fiscal year 2019 as part of a decision that avoids the possibility of three homeport changes over a four-year period for the ship's crewmembers and families.
Nimitz, the Navy's oldest aircraft carrier in service, arrived at Bremerton's Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in January for a 16-month extended planned incremental availability (EPIA).
Nimitz was scheduled to shift her homeport to Everett, Washington, in the summer of 2016, return to Bremerton in fiscal year 2018 for another extended maintenance period and move back to Everett in 2019.
"The prospect of successive homeport changes and the inevitable impact on Sailors and their families resulted in my decision to extend the temporary stationing of USS Nimitz in Bremerton," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
Nimitz has completed three homeport changes in the past five years, including a move from San Diego to Bremerton in December 2010 for a yearlong maintenance period, a homeport change from Bremerton to Everett in December 2011 and the move from Everett to Bremerton in January.
The vast majority of Nimitz's approximately 3,100 Sailors and their families reside in the Bremerton area due to the duration of the ship's current EPIA.
"Sailors can now continue to focus on training and getting the ship ready for future missions without the added stress of relocating themselves and their families," said Nimitz Commanding Officer Capt. John Ring.
In addition to eliminating back and forth moves between Bremerton and Everett, the decision to keep Nimitz in Bremerton through fiscal year 2019 alleviates a four-hour roundtrip commute between Bremerton and Everett for Sailors and families who may have stayed in Bremerton to avoid the multiple moves.
Nimitz is scheduled to return to the Navy's installation in Everett at the earliest possible opportunity following completion of her scheduled 2018-2019 docking planned incremental availability in Bremerton. Naval Station Everett is a deep water port that never needs to be dredged, providing unobstructed access to the Puget Sound for the Navy's largest vessels.
In September, the Navy announced plans to move destroyers USS Gridley (DDG 101), USS Sampson (DDG 102) and USS Kidd (DDG 100) to Everett next year.
Naval Station Everett currently supports USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Momsen (DDG 92) and approximately 2,000 Navy personnel. The installation is scheduled to support five destroyers by the end of 2016.