SAN DIEGO - The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan will return to its home port of Coronado on Thursday evening following more than one year of major maintenance in Bremerton, Wash., the Navy announced Tuesday.
The Navy said the vessel and its crew of 2,500 spent 14 months at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. Many of the sailors brought their families with them to Washington state, but around 600 left their loved ones behind in San Diego.
"We're absolutely thrilled to be going back to Southern California," said Capt. Thom Burke, the ship's commanding officer. "Our crew has put in a significant amount of effort over the last year to ensure this ship is ready and able to do our nation's work, and they are definitely ready to head home."
Aircraft carriers generally undergo major maintenance every eight to 10 years. The captain said the work ensures that the vessels complete their planned 50-year lifespan.
"There's a lot of work and a lot of planning that goes into maintaining these combat vessels, and the last year was a major step in ensuring we're ready to successfully operate at sea when our country calls upon us," Burke said.
A local television station reported that it could be awhile before the Reagan goes out on deployment because of federal budget cuts. The last time the ship deployed, it responded to the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan two years ago.