US Navy aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) will not be retired halfway through its service as was earlier planned, US vice president Mike Pence told sailors aboard the carrier during a visit on April 30.
CVN 75 was set to be decommissioned 25 years early in an effort to cut costs and enable a drive towards modernization.
The plan was to mothball the carrier ahead of its mid-life refueling overhaul and thereby save over $3 billion.
“We are keeping the best carrier in the world in the fight,” Mike Pence was quoted as saying. “We are not retiring the Truman.”
The vice president was visiting the carrier at its Norfolk homeport where it returned following a dynamic force deployment in December 2018.
“This ship has served as a constant sign to the world that we will always ensure our security,” said Pence. “We will always stand for peace through strength. During each deployment in its prolific career, USS Truman has taken the fight to the enemy on our terms, on their soil.”
The decision not to retire the US Navy’s eighth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier was praised by senator Tim Kaine. “As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have pushed hard against the Administration’s plans to mothball the Truman at the midpoint of its working life. I am gratified that the Administration listened and is now committed to the refueling. This is the right call for our national security.”
“It appears the Trump administration’s plan to retire the USS Truman decades ahead of schedule was a budget gimmick all along,” senator Mark Warner commented. “While I am glad the administration ultimately reconsidered this terrible idea, the incoherence here has not been good for morale or defense planning.”
Congresswoman Elaine Luria, a 20-year navy veteran and vice chair of the HASC Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, said she was glad that the administration reversed itself because this “would have been an awful decision for Hampton Roads and America.”
“As someone who served two years on the USS Harry S. Truman, I have firsthand knowledge of its value and ability to bring sustained power anywhere on Earth,” Luria said.