Saturday, January 31, 2009

Supercarrier USS Carl Vinson Preps for Homeport Change

In this 2007 file photo, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the James River en route to a pier-side dock after completing an 18-month dry dock period at Northrop Grumman Newport News. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Myriam Padilla.)

Focus on Defense:

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Jan. 31, 2009 -- A planning group from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) visited the ship's future homeport of San Diego in January to begin the process of configuring logistics and resources for sailors and their families who will make the move to the West Coast.

While the Navy has not yet established an official date for the aircraft carrier's homeport change, the ship will be assigning coordinators and putting the preliminary plans in place to make the future move a success.

"Eligible sailors will be receiving a homeport change certificate that entitles them to shipment of household goods, dependent travel, shipment of personal vehicles, and receipt of dislocation allowance to move family members," said Ensign Nicole Hansen, the ship's personnel officer.

Sailors with dependents can receive a change in their BAH to the San Diego rate upon the effective date of homeport change. The change in rate can be requested earlier if dependents are moved before the effective date and necessary documentation is provided to the ship's personnel office.

Hansen said that like any homeport move, the relocation of sailors and their families to another housing area will be a significant adjustment, but with proper planning, these moves can be a seamless process.

"It's important to remember that San Diego is considered a critical housing area, so it's important not to move a family until a secure place to live has been established due to the lack of available civilian and military housing and the higher cost of living ," said Hansen.

"We just want sailors to do their homework before they make any big decisions to relocate their families."

A good knowledge of the local housing area also applies to single crew members as well. Hansen stresses that single Sailors should do their homework to find safe and commuter-friendly places to live when relocating to another housing area.

Basic allowance for housing should be a primary consideration when searching for off base housing, according to Hansen. Although Sailors may be drawing more money in a high-cost housing area, they may not always be able to get as much house for the money in a competitive rental market.

Hansen said a host of support services are currently being established for Carl Vinson crew members as a result of the preliminary findings by the ship's planning group. A homeport change team will also be established to help Sailors and their families make the transition to the San Diego area.

"It's still early in the process, but we want to get started now and begin the planning phase," said Hansen. "That way, we'll be much better prepared when it's time to execute."

(Report by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristan Robertson, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs.)

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