Aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) will rejoin the U.S. Pacific Fleet when it shifts its homeport from Norfolk, Va., to San Diego, Calif.
Two other Nimitz-class carriers will change homeports to accommodate scheduled carrier maintenance periods, Naval Air Forces announced in a Thursday news release.
USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) will move from Bremerton, Wash., to Norfolk, Va., where it then will undergo its midlife refueling and complex overhaul, or RCOH, at Newport News Shipbuilding. USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) will leave its berth at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. and move to Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Wash., where it is scheduled for a planned incremental maintenance availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
The Navy would not say when any of the homeport changes would occur.
“For operational reasons, we don’t discuss ships’ movements,” Cmdr. Ronald Flanders, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces Pacific told USNI News on Thursday.
The return of Lincoln to the West Coast will keep at five the number of aircraft carriers assigned to the Pacific Fleet, once Stennis and Vinson shift their homeport. That’s less than half of the Navy’s fleet of 10 Nimitz-class nuclear-powered carriers, which for the mid-life refueling must relocate to Newport News since it’s the only facility to conduct the carrier’s midlife refueling.
Commissioned in 1989, Lincoln served in the Pacific region from 1990 to 2011, when the carrier deployed and shifted its homeport from Everett, Wash., to Norfolk for its midlife refueling. Lincoln completed its four-year RCOH in May 2017.
Stennis has called Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton home since 2005, when it relocated to Washington from San Diego. The carrier had left its berth on Sunday for “training exercises,” according to a report the Kitsap Sun. Commissioned in 1995, Stennis will be halfway through a Nimitz-class carrier’s expected 50-year life in 2020.
Vinson’s most recent operational overseas deployment ended in April, when the carrier returned to Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., wrapped up a three-month assignment in the western Pacific that included a historic visit to Vietnam along with Carrier Air Wing 2. The carrier was commissioned in 1982.
Vinson, which has called San Diego home since 2010, recently wrapped up its participation in this summer’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018 exercises off Hawaii. Last week, two MH-60S helicopters with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron assisted with rescuing civilian mariners whose boat ran aground near the island of Niihau. “We were ready,” said Capt. Matt Paradise, Vinson’s commanding officer, said in a Navy news story. “When nearby mariners needed assistance, we stepped up immediately and helped. That is what we are trained to do, and I’m proud of our team.”
The following is the Aug. 2 statement from the Navy.
The U.S. Navy announced today that three Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) will conduct homeport shifts. USS Abraham Lincoln, currently located in Norfolk, Virginia, will rejoin the Pacific Fleet, making San Diego its homeport. Abraham Lincoln, commissioned in 1989, previously served in the Pacific Fleet from 1990-2011 before moving to Norfolk for midlife refueling. The other two carrier homeport shifts are tied to carrier maintenance. John C. Stennis, currently homeported in Bremerton, Washington, will change homeports to Norfolk in advance of its midlife refueling, or reactor complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding. John C. Stennis was commissioned in 1995; Nimitz-class carriers are built to last 50 years. USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) will conduct a homeport change to Bremerton in advance of its docking-planned incremental availability (DPIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.