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Reagan’s sailors arrive in Bremerton

A sailor disembarks the USS Ronald Reagan Tuesday afternoon following the aircraft carrier’s arrival at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for scheduled year-long maintenance. - JJ Swanson
A sailor disembarks the USS Ronald Reagan Tuesday afternoon following the aircraft carrier’s arrival at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for scheduled year-long maintenance.
— image credit: JJ Swanson

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) sailed into the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The ship was tied down by 2:30 p.m. and 2,900 sailors were released to their new year-long homeport in Bremerton.

“It’s pretty cold up here compared to San Diego,” said Jarod Coleman, an enlisted sailor from the USS Reagan. “But it’s new scenery. I can’t wait to get into Seattle. See what the city has to offer.”

Coleman plans to live in barracks while the carrier is home-ported at PSNS for maintenance. The overhaul will cost $218 million and take one year to complete.

Lindsay Hopkins, an enlisted sailor’s wife, drove into Bremerton early to scout housing for their family. She waited by the dock for her husband to come off the boat. Though they have been married for two years, they have lived together for less than seven months of that time.

Reagan has deployed five times in six years. It was the first U.S. ship deployed to the coast of Japan to provide disaster relief to tsunami and earthquake victims March 12. It delivered 350,000 pounds of supplies and helped fuel Japanese relief helicopters.

It has also served supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

“We’re most looking forward to being together for this whole year,” said Hopkins. “It will be nice to actually live together again.”

Some sailors are returning home as the carrier ports in Bremerton.

Leslie Levesque, mother of an enlisted sailor aboard Reagan, waited for her daughter who was born and raised in Oregon.

“She’s an Oregon gal,” said Levesque. “She’s thrilled to be close to home again!”

Levesque arrived at 11 a.m. to wait for the ship, after putting an ice scraper in her daughter’s car to prepare for snow that may come at the end of the month – something that may not have been dealt with since living in San Diego.

The carrier’s crew will work regular hours in their departments during the renovation, splitting maintenance tasks with PSNS workers.

Reagan was stationed in San Diego since 2004. It will likely return after the period of maintenance, but no official announcement has been made.

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