By Journalist 1st Class (AW/SW) Lorin Sawyer, USS Carl Vinson
Sailors from USS Carl Vinson completed the final milestone in the transition of the “Gold Eagle” from the fleet to the shipyard Nov. 11 by moving the “Gold Eagle” from Pier 14 at Naval Station Norfolk to dry dock 11 at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard
, beginning in earnest the ship's refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH).
“The biggest issue the ship faced was the weather and the current,” said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) James Myles, of Deck Department. “The event took about six hours, altogether, with four tug boats pushing
the ship and [us] relying on their power for propulsion.”
Carl Vinson used rudders for steering the ship during the transit to Newport News, which required the crew to not only stay alert, but also be prepared to act at a moment's notice to changes that could take place.
“When we arrived at the Newport News shipyard, the ship had to be lined up perfectly,” said Myles. “This is essential to holding the ship in place when the water is being pumped out of the dry dock - which took about four hours to accomplish.”
The move to Newport News, originally scheduled for Nov. 10, was delayed due to high winds.
“The winds were too high for our original move time,” said Quartermaster 2nd Class (SW) Keith Emerson, of Carl Vinson's Navigation Department. “When the winds decreased and with a full crew on the bridge, we made the actual transit in about two hours. The main challenges we faced were having good visuals to maintain our bearing and stay on track and keeping good communications [between] the tugs and the crew.”
According to Emerson, the transit was flawless, and he credited this success to the dry-runs the crew took part in before the actual move.
Since returning from deployment in July, Carl Vinson Sailors had been preparing for the move to Newport News and the ship's RCOH.