Carrier USS John C. Stennis Overhaul Delayed, Work Will Take More than 5 Years to Complete

June 18, 2024 2:52 PM - Updated: June 20, 2024 12:31 PM
USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) is moved to an outfitting berth at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia, April 8, 2024. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated with additional information from Naval Sea Systems Command.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The midlife overhaul and refueling for aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) will now take about five and a half years to complete – an extension of almost 14 months, according to Navy Fiscal Year 2025 budget documents.
Stennis began the refueling and complex overhaul in 2021 and was due to finish the massive, multi-billion overhaul by August 2025. However, that date was pushed to the right by more than a year to October 2026, according to the Fiscal Year 2025 budget documents released earlier this year.

Speaking to USNI News on Monday, program executive officer carriers Rear. Adm. Casey Moton said the delays are due to the workforce and material shortfalls that stretched out the delivery of USS George Washington (CVN-73), which were made worse by the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an April statement, NAVSEA said the delay was, “due both to mandatory growth work following ship condition assessments, as well as industrial base challenges.”

George Washington was at the Newport News yard for almost six years before completing the RCOH with the sailors working in the shipyard subject to some of the toughest conditions in the military, according to a 2023 Navy investigation following the deaths by suicide of several sailors assigned to the carrier.

Stennis will be in the yard less time and the service has taken steps to increase the quality of life for the sailors working on the carrier, Moton told USNI News.

That includes creating new habitability standards the carrier must meet before the Naval Sea Systems Command, the PEO and the ship’s leadership can make the decision to allow the sailors to move back aboard the carrier.

As part of the FY 2025 budget submission, the Navy requested additional funds for sailors to live off the ship during the work.

The cost increases, “include additional months of crew berthing and to provide more off-ship housing in apartments vice barracks for sailors. Beginning with [Stennis] RCOH, no on-board housing is used for crew berthing for sailors during the RCOH. In previous RCOH availabilities, crew move-aboard occurred nearly a year before the ship re-delivered,” reads the budget documents.

Lack of parking, adequate housing and other amenities, like reliable Wi-Fi and healthy food options, were highlights from an investigation that concluded sailors on Washington had the toughest living standards in the U.S. military.

Moton spoke at an announcement of a $120 million garage that would add 2,800 spots to allow sailors and shipyard workers parking nearby the shipyard with 2,000 spaces reserved for sailors working in the yard. According to the investigation, about 2,000 sailors parked in satellite lots, requiring travel of up to three hours to get to work.

Stennis left the dry dock of HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding in April to start the second part of the carrier’s RCOH and is currently pier-side at the shipyard.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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