Carrier Ronald Reagan Returns to San Diego with Crew

For the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, it’s been a long overdue return to San Diego. After 14 months in Bremerton, Washington for extensive overhaul, the Ronald Reagan and its crew of 2,500 sailors returned to San Diego on Thursday afternoon.

The homeport change to Naval Base Kitsap was reported in January 2012. The purpose of the switch was for major repairs and renovations at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

This 14-month maintenance period was intended to ensure the longevity of the Reagan’s 50-year life span. With upgrades to the propulsion engines, rudders, and propeller shafts, the Ronald Reagan will be on track to reaching that target.

The Ronald Reagan returned to Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego’s Coronado Island. More than 600 San Diego-based sailors were cheerful to see their families for the first time in over a year.

It is uncertain what the Ronald Reagan can expect for work in the near future. With looming Sequestration budget cuts, the air wing assigned to the Ronald Reagan will be closing in April. The crew of the Reagan will still continue to work on the remaining overhaul maintenance on the flight deck in April and begin basic training in May.

The Ronald Reagan’s skipper, Captain Thom Burke, said, “The expectation is we’ll be going out to start training in May but we’ll have to see how things go with the budget issues. I’m not sure at this point.”

Naval Air Forces’ Commander Kevin Stephens at North Island Naval Air Station claimed that training schedules are still under examination.