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CORONADO, Calif. – The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) is scheduled to arrive at Naval Air Station North Island Aug. 10 to initiate a crew and equipment swap with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) before beginning its transit to Norfolk, Virginia, where it will prepare for its mid-life refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH).
George Washington's arrival in San Diego is part of the three-carrier swap announced by the Navy January 2014 involving George Washington, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and Ronald Reagan.
George Washington departed Japan in May to participate in Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015 with Australia and New Zealand. The ship has been forward deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility since 2008.
In San Diego, George Washington will conduct a 10-day turn over period with Ronald Reagan before leaving the Southern California operating area for Naval Station Norfolk, where the ship is expected to begin mid-life RCOH at Newport News Shipbuilding, Huntington Ingalls Industries in fall 2016.
Ronald Reagan will depart San Diego as well and proceed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to serve as the fleet's forward deployed naval forces aircraft carrier out of Yokosuka, Japan. Ronald Reagan recently completed a maintenance period in which it had many of its systems upgraded.
"We are sending one of our most advanced carriers to join our forward deployed forces in Japan to support the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander, Naval Air Forces. "Sending USS Ronald Reagan demonstrates our continued commitment to the region and ensures the Navy is where it matters, when it matters."
Theodore Roosevelt, which is currently conducting an around-the-world deployment after leaving Norfolk in March 2015, is expected to arrive to its new homeport of San Diego in late fall 2015. Theodore Roosevelt will replace Ronald Reagan as a U.S. 3rd Fleet rotational carrier.
Intense planning went into the three hull swap evolution. The crew swap allows geographic stability for many of the Sailors while providing a savings of approximately $41 million in permanent change of station (PCS) costs to the Navy.
Approximately two-thirds of each crew will remain in their original homeport while one-third will transfer with their ship. Reactor Department personnel will remain with their respective hull as well as a small number of personnel deemed critical to the ship's operations, such as the ship's commanding officer and executive officer. Command master chiefs will remain with their respective crews. Each ship will go through tailored training for the new crew following the personnel swap.