NORFOLK -- The U.S. Navy announced Tuesday that the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan will replace USS George Washington in Japan and become part of the U.S. 7th Fleet forward-deployed naval forces in Yokosuka, Japan.
As part of the rebalance strategy, USS Theodore Roosevelt will move from Norfolk to San Diego, Navy officials said.
Theodore Roosevelt will serve as a U.S. 3rd Fleet rotational carrier allowing Ronald Reagan to depart her current homeport in San Diego and proceed to Yokosuka.
George Washington will depart Japan and proceed to Virginia where it will be stationed at the Newport News Shipbuilding and undergo a mid-life refueling complex overhaul.
The ship rotation will not necessitate a change in the assigned air wing, nor in the composition of the air wing.
Carrier Air Wing Five will remain the forward-deployed air wing located at Naval Air Facility Atsugi. This ship rotation also does not necessitate any changes to base facilities in either San Diego or Yokosuka.
In 2008, George Washington was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sent to Japan as part of the forward-deployed naval forces.
U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine released this statement in response to the Navy's homeport announcement:
'Navy leadership has briefed us that today's announcement is a routine shift to balance operational demands with shipyard capabilities. This planned reshuffling of the carriers aligns the fleet with the Navy's maintenance schedule. Norfolk remains the premier East Coast hub for naval sea power projection, and Norfolk will gain the USS George Washington (CVN 73) from Japan when the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) moves from Norfolk to San Diego. This announcement also demonstrates the Navy's continued commitment to aircraft carrier global presence, as well as Hampton Roads' critical role at the intersection of construction, maintenance, and operational deployments. However, we remain concerned about the potential long-term impacts of sequestration on our Navy and our national security due to continued uncertainty in future budgets. We will continue to strive to eliminate such ambiguity in future defense budgets.'
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