CORONADO, Calif. — The USS George Washington, one of the aircraft carriers taking part in a three-way swap of home ports, is scheduled to leave San Diego Friday for training and nuclear refueling.
The GW was based in Japan for seven years before coming to San Diego last month.
After the GW and the guided-missile destroyers USS Chafee and USS McFaul leave, they will take part in Southern Seas 2015, a series of training exercises with vessels from partner nations in South America.
The carrier is scheduled to sail around the tip of the southern continent and head up to Virginia for nuclear power refueling.
The complicated carrier swap is designed to save the Navy an estimated $41 million in personnel transfer costs.
The USS Ronald Reagan departed Monday after being based in San Diego for 11 years, and will become the Navy’s “forward deployed” flattop in Japan.
Most of the members of the Washington and Reagan crews swapped places last month, so the GW sailors are sailing the Reagan back to Japan, where they’re based.
The Reagan crew is manning the GW. After they reach Virginia, they’ll fly back to San Diego and prepare to take over the USS Theodore Roosevelt, now deployed in the Middle East.
The “Big Stick” will be homeported in San Diego following its deployment. Its sailors will fly to Virginia and take over the Washington.
Around one-third of each crew — mainly command personnel and nuclear staff — are remaining with their ships.