USS George H.W. Bush departs from Naval Station Norfolk

The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) departs Norfolk Naval Shipyard for sea trials July 23. Bush has been at the shipyard since June 16, 2015 for a Planned Incremental Availability. Major work performed included upgrades to the carrier's Vacuum Collection Holding Tanks and close-in weapons system. (U.S. Navy photo by Shayne Hensley/Released)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) — USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) left Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) July 23 after completing a 13-month planned incremental availability (PIA).

GHWB will conduct sea trials in collaboration with NNSY to evaluate sailors’ performance and ensure the operability of ship equipment and systems.

“Sea trials are exciting and the culmination of an enormous effort on the part of our crew and our shipyard and contracting partners,” said Capt. Will Pennington, commanding officer of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). “I’m very proud of our entire PIA team for their hard work and dedication. I have no doubt the testing and evaluation will be successful and our crew is eager to return this great ship to operational service and get back in the fight.”

Sea trials will test ship equipment that supports surface operations, flight deck evolutions, deck seamanship and damage control readiness through various drills and system checks. This includes high-speed turns, aqueous film forming foam tests on the flight deck and hangar bays, anchor drop testing, and sea and anchor drills.

“The ship itself is an innovative piece of machinery, but it’s the Sailors that give it life,” said GHWB Command Master Chief Huben Phillips. “The many man-hours that went into PIA have brought us to this point. Now the crew will put those efforts to good use and begin the task of getting us back to our primary mission.”

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Commander Capt. Scott Brown said he truly appreciates the combined efforts supporting GHWB’s planned incremental availability during the past year.

“It’s your efforts that have enabled us to deliver this national asset back to the fleet,” said Brown.

“The crew is chomping at the bit to get out of the yards and back into the operational environment,” said GHWB Navigator Cdr. Marc Christino. “You can see it walking around the ship. There is an excitement in the air about getting back to sea.”

The end of sea trials will mark GHWB’s successful completion of PIA and the crew will return to its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, to enter its training and qualification cycle in preparation for a 2017 deployment.

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