Aircraft carrier docks in Bremerton

The USS Carl Vinson brings about 3,000 crew members, will undergo maintenance at PSNS.

Bremerton’s Puget Sound Naval Shipyard welcomed a new aircraft carrier over the weekend.

The USS Carl Vinson and its roughly 3,000-person crew sailed into Sinclair Inlet on Sunday for homeporting at PSNS, for a maintenance period known as docking-planned incremental availability (DPIA).

The 95,000-ton warship, previously homeported in San Diego, replaces the USS John C. Stennis, the nuclear-powered supercarrier that left Bremerton for Norfolk, Va., last year.

A DPIA period can take between 10 to 15 months, according to NavalToday, an industry publication.

It’s not the first time the Carl Vinson has docked in Bremerton. The vessel spent 28 months at PSNS beginning in 1990 for a “complex overhaul,” and returned in 1997 for maintenance. In 1998 the ship departed for the Persian Gulf, where it launched airstrikes in Iraq during Operation Desert Fox.

Commissioned in 1982, the ship has participated in multiple military operations including Operation Enduring Freedom following the September 11 attacks. The warship is perhaps best known for being the carrier from which the body of Osama bin Laden was buried at sea in 2011.

In 2010, the ship was deployed to Haiti to assist with earthquake relief as part of Operation Unified Response.

In 2011, the Carl Vinson became the first U.S. aircraft carrier to host an NCAA basketball game. On November 11, 2011, the University of North Carolina and Michigan State played on the ship’s deck while the vessel was ported in Coronado, Calif.

Capt. Matthew Paradise is the ship’s Commanding Officer. A native of Washington State, Paradise took the helm in June, 2018.

“I’m excited to be home,” he said in a statement. “I know that Bremerton has a strong community of support.”

Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler expressed his support for the ship’s homeporting on Monday.

“I’m excited that the Carl Vinson will be here, and proud of the work that our uniformed service members have done on our behalf overseas,” he said. “We want them to feel welcome.”

Gabe Stutman is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. Follow him on Twitter @kitsapgabe.

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