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USS Carl Vinson completes availability, returns to San Diego

By Max Maxfield, PSNS &IMF Public Affairs | Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility | Aug. 27, 2020

BREMERTON, Wash. —

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility completed a docking planned incremental availability on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) today, as the aircraft carrier completed sea trials enroute to San Diego, where it was homeported prior to its arrival at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Jan. 20, 2019.

Upon its arrival in San Diego, Vinson’s homeport will be officially changed to San Diego. Vinson began the docking portion of the availability when it entered Dry Dock 6 at PSNS & IMF, Feb. 28, 2019.

According to Mathew VanRavenhorst, deputy project superintendent for the availability, Vinson underwent scheduled, periodic maintenance on major components like rudders, shafts and tanks, as well as upgrades to crew living spaces. The ship also received work to preserve its hull, upgrades to the electrical system, upgrades to combat systems, and it underwent a complete restoration and a system retrofit to accommodate F-35C Lightening II Joint Strike Fighter mission capabilities. The overall cost of the work totaled about $367 million.

According to VanRavenhorst, the team realized the ship’s distilling units needed some structural work that was not part of the original plan for the availability.  The team stayed focused and completed all the planned and unplanned work while implementing COVID-19 mitigation and prevention measures to minimize risk to shipyard workers and ship’s crew.

“The team faced [the COVID-19 pandemic] with resolve and creativity, minimizing delays whenever they arose,” VanRavenhorst said. “Some of our team members needed to stand down for a time to protect themselves or loved ones, which created opportunities for other teammates to fill the void and enhance their growth.”

“Adjustments to our standard operations were needed to ensure we minimized the spread of this virus,” VanRavenhorst continued. “These changes will allow us to be more agile in the future.  This pandemic showed how important it is, and what it means to be a civil servant.  Words cannot fully express how proud I am of the ship’s force, our contractor partners, and shipyard team for their work on this project.”

Vinson’s leadership also recognized how challenging and important it was to get this work done regardless of the challenges posed by COVID-19.

"On behalf of the ship's crew, I want to say thank you to the entire shipyard team," said Capt. Matthew Paradise, Vinson's commanding officer. "I'm proud of what we were able to accomplish together. Even in the midst of the worldwide pandemic, our teams successfully undertook a complete restoration and system retrofit to make Vinson one of the most advanced and lethal aircraft carriers in the Fleet."

VanRavenhorst said an enormous electrical upgrade was completed in the propulsion plant, early in the availability period.  This win required detailed planning and flawless execution to get the work done so quickly.

“The team planned and executed the work better than I ever would have expected them to,” VanRavenhorst said. “This allowed the project team to shift their focus to other items that grew beyond what we were expecting. The ship received more than 250 modernizations, which will make her more capable than ever.”

He said the importance of what a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier does around the world will always bring out the best in the PSNS & IMF team.

“The ship that leaves here carries some of the most precious resources our nation possesses; sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, friends and family,” said VanRavenhorst. “They have committed themselves to the defense of our country, and you have provided them a platform from which they will complete that mission and will help ensure they return safely.  Be proud of the work you have done and remember to always know how much it matters.”