VP Pence: USS Truman will not be retired

The USS Harry S. Truman (Southside Daily Photo/ Courtesy of Newport News Shipbuilding)
The USS Harry S. Truman (Southside Daily Photo/ Courtesy of Newport News Shipbuilding)

NORFOLK — Vice President Mike Pence told sailors at Naval Station Norfolk the Trump Administration is dropping its pitch to retire the USS Harry S. Truman.

Pence made the announcement during a visit Tuesday.

“The USS Harry S. Truman is going to be giving ’em hell for many more years to come,” Pence told the sailors, adding ““we are keeping the best carrier in the world in the fight, we are not retiring the USS Harry S Truman.”

After his speech, Pence joined a roundtable discussion with local business leaders to discuss the United States –Mexico–Canada Agreement.

“I’m glad that the administration reversed itself because this would have been an awful decision for Hampton Roads and America,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk. “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 represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. The 2nd district includes Accomack and Northampton counties, portions of York County, and the cities of Virginia Beach and Williamsburg and parts of the cities of Norfolk and Hampton.

Luria serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the vice chairwoman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as chairwoman of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.

On March 12, the Department of the Navy submitted its budget for the 2020 fiscal year which included forgoing the maintenance scheduled for the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in 2024.

According to the Navy’s several members of Congress are opposed to dismantling of the aircraft carrier.

Aircraft carriers have a 50-year lifespan and mid-way through the ship’s life, it goes through a process known as Refueling and Complex Overhaul or RCOH. This process is a comprehensive overall of the entire aircraft carrier, according to the Navy.

The 2020 Defense budget originally called for the ship to be retired 25 years early, saying it would create budgetary flexibility to develop new manned and unmanned weapons systems and save $4 billion in the process.

Pence’s visit comes less than a week after his wife, Karen Pence visited Naval Station Norfolk.

During her visit, the Second Lady made remarks to military spouses and recognized the sacrifices made by them. She said they are the backbone of the military and contribute directly to our military readiness.

Southside Daily’s partner, 13NewsNow contributed to this report.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.