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USS Nimitz set to homeport at Naval Station Everett, welcomed by elected officials

EVERETT — The U.S. Navy's Dec. 9 announcement that the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Nimitz will be homeported at Naval Station Everett was met with praise from local, state and national-level elected officials.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus decided to homeport the Nimitz in Everett upon the completion of its maintenance at Bremerton in December of 2011, following the departure of USS Abraham Lincoln for a four-year refueling complex overhaul in Hampton Roads, Va. The Abraham Lincoln is currently deployed and will not return to Everett.

Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon deemed this decision an example of how the Navy recognizes the importance of Naval Station Everett, which he described as "a top-rate facility befitting our national security," as well as its personnel. Reardon praised the Navy for homeporting the Nimitz at Everett while the Abraham Lincoln is away, by asserting that it maintains national security on both coasts on the country while saving millions in federal dollars.

"I applaud today's decision, which measures strategic readiness, cost and value, and strongly encourage the Pentagon to continue in this foresight and thoughtfulness by awarding the U.S. Air Force tanker project to the Boeing Company," Reardon said.

Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire characterized a carrier presence in Everett as important not only to national security, but also to the region's economy.

"An Everett based carrier supports thousands of jobs, both in the marine industry and in the community," Gregoire said. "The more than 4,000 sailors and their families will find the most modern base in the Navy and a welcoming and supportive community with schools, resources and an unmatched quality of life."

According to Gregoire, Mabus had mentioned to her how welcoming and supportive Washington state is to the Navy's sailors and their families.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen echoed Gregoire's sentiment, noting that Naval Station Everett is designed to support a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, because it's a deep-water port that never needs to be dredged and it boasts unimpeded access to the Pacific Ocean. He agreed that a carrier presence at Everett fosters hundreds of jobs in the ship repair industry, as well as thousands of other jobs in the community.

"Local officials and leaders in the business community have worked together to support sailors and their families stationed in Everett," Larsen said, citing the "outstanding quality of life."

The Nimitz was previously homeported in San Diego from Nov. 13, 2001, to Dec. 6, 2010, when the ship administratively shifted homeport to Bremerton for the duration of its year-long maintenance period. The Navy's decision to homeport the Nimitz in Everett ensures the long-term strategic dispersal of aircraft carriers on the West Coast and yields estimated cost savings totaling more than $100 million.

Nimitz crew-members who opted not to move family members during the extended maintenance period in Bremerton will be afforded the opportunity to conduct permanent change of station moves for eligible family members from San Diego to Bremerton and, subsequently, to Everett after completion of the maintenance.

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