BREMERTON, Wash. — After almost 10 months, USS John C. Stennis is back on the water. The Bremerton-based aircraft carrier left dry dock at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility on Friday. It had entered on July 1.
The Stennis is on the downhill side of a 14-month, $240 million maintenance and modernization period. In this case, it will be 440,000 hours of work for shipyard employees and another 230,000 for sailors and contractors.
They have completed more than 11,000 repair jobs, including restoring Stennis’ multi-ton propellers, shafts and rudders, and refurbishing all four aircraft catapults. The crews also began installing a new communications platform and are upgrading the close-in weapons systems to improve the ship’s defense against close-range threats, according to the Navy.
“I am exceptionally proud of our team’s accomplishments in achieving this major milestone early and keeping Stennis on track to return to the fleet, as scheduled,” said Capt. Michael Wettlaufer, Stennis' commanding officer.
On Wednesday, millions of gallons of water entered the dry dock as Stennis and shipyard personnel conducted safety and water-integrity inspections throughout the ship. After the dry dock was fully flooded, the caisson, a barrier separating the dry dock from the bay, was removed, and Stennis, with the help several tugboats, moved to an adjacent pier where work will continue.
Stennis is scheduled to complete its maintenance period after conducting sea trials in the fall.
Stennis completed the second of back-to-back Middle East missions in May 2013.