USS George H. W. Bush leaves Norfolk dry dock on time during its first major overhaul
By CHRISTIAN LOPEZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 2, 2020
The aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush recently left dry dock at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Va., after 18 months of its planned two-year overhaul.
This is the Bush’s most extensive maintenance period and marked its first time out of water since it was built, according to a Navy statement Saturday.
Work on the 1,092-foot-long carrier began in 2006; it was commissioned in January 2009. Its overhaul was the most complex undertaken at the shipyard to date, according to the Navy.
The Bush “undocked” on schedule Saturday despite challenges surrounding the coronavirus pandemic; it moved to a pier adjacent the USS Harry S. Truman, which arrived for maintenance in July, the Navy said. This is the first time two carriers have shared a pier in the shipyard’s history.
“We have been laser-focused throughout on getting Bush out of dock on time, and the folks that worked throughout the pandemic kept us on schedule,” Jeff Burchett, project superintendent, said in the Navy statement. “They stepped up their game, and it was incredible how they kept us going to make us successful.”
While the carrier is at the pier, a shipyard team will start restoring its living areas ahead of the final phase of the maintenance period and before the crew comes back on board, according to the Navy.
“I know how important undocking is to this availability,” Burchett said. “What’s even more important is returning the ship back to the Fleet to conduct its mission. There’s a quote from George H.W. Bush himself that we took on as the project team motto: ‘This is my mission and I will complete it.’”
Prior to arriving at the Norfolk shipyard, the Bush took park in the Franco-American bilateral airwing exercise Chesapeake 2018 with the French navy.