Deployments are fun. They say its like a big, floating city, and it really is, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Vanetta Randle, 24, of Silverdale.
One sailor characterized the past two years of life on the Stennis as unusually busy. Panetta said the ship has been at sea about 70 percent of the time over that period.
Its tough, said Petty Officer 1st Class Ricky McCaig, 29, of Belfair. Frequent deployments can harm both sides with family and service members; both can lose morale.
He and other sailors said theyre accustomed to changing plans at a moments notice. McCaig said he appreciated seeing Panetta just before the next assignment.
Were trained to just follow orders and go where were told, he said. Its definitely a privilege to have someone doing all the telling come to talk to us about where were going.
Naval Base kitsap project gets OK
The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday cleared the way for the largest defense construction project in Washington state a $715 million effort to improve the wharf that serves eight nuclear submarines at Naval Base Kitsap.
The corps issued a final construction permit for the project. The Navy plans to break ground next month, a spokeswoman said.
The Defense Departments 2012 budget included $280 million to begin the work, and the Navy gave its final approval in May. Washington lawmakers including Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, have endorsed it as necessary to sustain the bases eight Trident ballistic-missile submarines.
Anti-nuclear advocacy groups in June sued to block the project, arguing that the Navy should have considered other alternatives.