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After 6-year overhaul, USS George Washington departs Newport News shipyard for sea trials

Newport News Shipbuilding hits two major milestones on refueling and overhaul of USS George Washington (Photo by Matt Hildreth/TNS)

After six years in the shipyard, the USS George Washington departed Monday from Newport News Shipbuilding for sea trials.

Sea trials mark the final phase of the Washington’s overhaul. The Washington has been at Newport News Shipbuilding since 2017 for its mid-life refueling and complex overhaul, a process that typically takes four years. The refueling and complex overhaul of an aircraft carrier is a multi-year project performed only once during a carrier’s 50-year service life that includes refueling the ship’s two nuclear reactors, as well as significant repairs, upgrades and modernization.

The Washington got underway just days after the Navy released a comprehensive investigation into command climate and sailor quality of life unique to a shipyard environment. The investigation was in response to the suicides of three Washington sailors within the span of one week.

Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, said last week that throughout the investigation, it was “pointedly obvious the Navy had failed the George Washington.”

Since entering its maintenance period, the Washington has experienced nine suicides among its crew dating back to 2017.

A redelivery date for the Washington is expected later this year, HII’s president, Chris Kastner, said during the company’s fourth quarter report released in February 2023.

Following its delivery back to the Navy, Washington will shift homeports in 2024, replacing the USS Ronald Reagan in Yokosuka, Japan.


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