SAN DIEGO (NNS) - USS Nimitz (CVN 68) departed San Diego Dec. 6 to conduct an administrative homeport change from Naval Base Coronado to Naval Base Kitsap at Bremerton, Wash.

Nimitz is making the homeport change to conduct a year-long docking-planned incremental availability (DPIA) at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) at Bremerton.

"During the maintenance period, Nimitz will receive major upgrades to its potable water system, combat and self defense systems, navigational systems, electrical load centers and numerous other components," said Lt. Cmdr. Charles Jones, ship's maintenance manager for Nimitz.

Nimitz has called the San Diego area home since 2001 when the ship shifted homeports from Newport News, Va., after completing a three-year complex refueling overhaul.

"I would be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to say thank you to all the folks in San Diego who took care of our Sailors, and not only our Sailors, but their families as well while we deployed," said Capt. Paul Monger, Nimitz' commanding officer.

"I'm sad but I'm happy," said Lila Vasquez, mother of Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Lourdes Torres, who is making the move up to Washington. "We're used to having her close by, but we know it is important for the ship that she goes."

Since 2001, Nimitz has deployed five times as part of Carrier Strike Group 11, including its most recent deployment from July 2009 to March 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.

"USS Nimitz has called San Diego her home for almost a decade, and we are grateful to the entire community for the support they have shown us," said Monger.

Nimitz' DPIA is scheduled from Jan. 11, 2011, until Dec. 16, 2011.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is the only government dry dock capable of accommodating a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier on the West Coast. The Navy expects to accomplish approximately 450,000 man days of work during the DPIA. Much of the work will be conducted by government workers at PSNS, but a substantial amount, around 72,000 man days, is expected to be accomplished in the private sector, with a significant effort being accomplished by the Nimitz crew.

For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.