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Eisenhower sets sail after nearly two years of maintenance work

Eisenhower sets sail after nearly two years of maintenance work

By Mike Hixenbaugh
The Virginian-Pilot
© August 29, 2015

It was nearly a year later than planned, but the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower on Friday steamed out of Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth and back out to sea for the first time in more than two years.

The ship – originally scheduled to leave the yard in November and deploy later this year – needed much more work than originally planned, according to the Navy.

Because of the delay, the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman will deploy in the Eisenhower’s place later this year.

It was an unprecedented stretch at the shipyard and required a lot of work for the crew: Shipyard workers, contractors and sailors logged “more than 1.2 million man-days of work” over the 23-month span in the yard, the Navy said. The 40-year-old ship required 50 percent more maintenance than planned, including extra work on numerous ship systems, such as the shafts, rudders and distilling units.

It was the longest and most comprehensive carrier overhaul ever completed at one of the Navy’s public shipyards.

“I promise it was not always easy,” Capt. Steve Koehler, the ship’s commanding officer, said in a statement. “Every department had their share of long days and nights, but through it all, the work was completed and our sailors still managed to garner several awards along the way.”

The ship headed out to sea Thursday morning to begin basic sea trials, the first step in a months-long process in preparation for deployment sometime next summer.

And in October, the ship will take on a high-profile task: The Navy plans to test F-35 fighter jet flight operations off the deck of the ship.

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