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Posted: 8/31/2005 11:40:26 AM EDT
GW Leaves Dry Dock

Story Number: NNS050830-09
Release Date: 8/30/2005 4:18:00 PM

By Chief Journalist (SW/AW/IUSS) Henry W. Rice, USS George
Washington Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) (GW) completed
an undocking and berthing shift at the Northrop Grumman Newport News
(NGNN) shipyard Aug. 30. The move was four days earlier than originally
scheduled and was executed almost seven months after the ship arrived in
the dry dock.

After arriving in the dry dock Jan. 28, GW had major cosmetic work done
on her underside, with the ship's force painting the hull and shipyard
workers removing, refurbishing, and refitting the ship's four massive
propellers and shafts.

"I am very pleased with the efforts by all that were involved in
allowing us to leave the dry dock, not just on time, but actually four
days early," said Capt. Garry White, GW's commanding officer. "Over the
last seven months, the combined efforts of the ship and the shipyard
have been incredible. We have truly formed a highly effective, cohesive
team that consistently overcomes obstacles."

GW moved out of the dry dock early in the morning and relocated to Pier
2 at NGNN shipyard. Scheduled maintenance, outfitting, and testing will
continue as part of the planned incremental availability. Although there
is still much work scheduled, the GW crew sees leaving the dry dock as a
major milestone.

"Being back in the water really shows us that there is light at the end
of the tunnel," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (SW/AW) Erik Allison.
"It won't be long before we start getting underway and doing flight ops
again."

There have been many tangible milestones over the past weeks that have
made the move possible. The propellers being refitted started a chain of
events that led to making the ship seaworthy again. But, when the crew
started moving back aboard GW Aug. 22, Sailors began feeling like the
aircraft carrier was starting to look and feel more like a warship and
less like a construction site.

"Now that I'm back working in my work space and the berthings and
surrounding spaces are opening, things are starting to get back to
normal," said Damage Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Dustin Woolever. "All the
work that has been done looks great. I look forward to finishing the
work here and getting back to Norfolk."

Most of the GW crew had been working off the ship at locations near the
shipyard and on board an APL located next to the ship. Sailors lived in
barracks located at nearby Fort Eustis, Huntington Hall in Newport News,
and Norfolk Naval shipyard in nearby Portsmouth, Va.

For some GW Sailors, the trip from the dock to the pier was just another
couple of hours underway, while for others it was their first taste of
sea time.

"This has been a great experience," said Seaman Sania Mendez. "I've been
on board for a couple of months, and now it's really starting to feel
like I'm on sea duty."

The next scheduled underway period for GW will be when the ship departs
the shipyard to complete sea trials and return to her home port in
Norfolk later this year.

For more information about USS George Washington, visit
www.spear.navy.mil/gw.
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