Anah Christenson (right) checks the temperature of an enlisted sailor Friday morning at Naval Station Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Anah Christenson (right) checks the temperature of an enlisted sailor Friday morning at Naval Station Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Purchase Photo

Challenging year for Naval Station Everett as COVID spreads

In an annual update, the commanding officer also explained Everett’s lack of an aircraft carrier.

EVERETT — It’s been a challenging year at Naval Station Everett as COVID-19 has spread around the world.

That’s the assessment commanding officer Capt. Mike Davis gave last week during a virtual meeting.

Barracks have been turned into quarantine spaces for those who need a place to stay if they begin to show symptoms or come in contact with an infected person. Crew without the option to work from home have been split into two groups and alternate schedules.

“Some of it we can’t do from telework positions,” Davis said. “We can’t, unfortunately, remotely turn a wrench when necessary, so we do have to bring those kinds of workers on board.”

Davis gave an update on Naval Station Everett during an online meeting Tuesday hosted by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Usually that organization puts together an annual event called State of the Station, at which the commanding officer talks about the past year. It was cancelled in April.

Besides the pandemic, Davis talked about ships at Naval Station Everett. Mayor Cassie Franklin attended the meeting. For years she’s advocated bringing more ships to the base, especially an aircraft carrier.

Naval Station Everett was built in 1995 and since then has had two aircraft carriers — the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Nimitz. The latter left for maintenance in 2015 and never returned.

Davis does not believe an aircraft carrier will come back to Everett, he said Tuesday. He has a couple of reasons.

Maintenance is essential for those kinds of ships, and Everett does not have the facility to complete the work. The vessels are nuclear-powered and require a strictly controlled environment.

To build a space like that would cost at least $500 million, Davis said, while those capabilities already exist in Bremerton.

Tables and chairs are unavailable at The Commons at Naval Station Everett due to coronavirus restrictions. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Tables and chairs are unavailable at The Commons at Naval Station Everett due to coronavirus restrictions. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

“The Navy is not going to commit those kinds of resources to Everett just for a carrier,” he said.

When Everett did have a carrier, sailors were bused to Bremerton every day while ships were undergoing maintenance. That’s about four hours of commute time, as well as an eight- to 10-hour work day.

“There are people who do that, but to levy those types of demands on our sailors and on their families is a little bit challenging,” Davis said. “I personally believe I would rather have a lot of smaller ships here than a single big ship coming back to Everett. There’s some economic positivity to that, too.”

When a carrier goes on deployment, that means around 2,500 people leave all at once and no longer contribute to the economy. With several smaller ships, that number would be much less if one or two ships leave at the same time. Each destroyer has a crew of about 300.

“Our hope is that we will see some growth here in the near future, or at least get it announced,” he said.

Naval Station Everett is home to five Navy destroyers and two Coast Guard vessels. Three other ships have been assigned to the station while they undergo maintenance in Seattle and Portland. That way Naval Station Everett can support the sailors while they live in the region temporarily.

Two more ships, the USS John McCain and the USS John Paul Jones, are expected to join Naval Station Everett in a year or so. Those also may undergo maintenance once they arrive, Naval Station Everett spokesperson Kristin Ching said.

One Naval Station Everett ship, the USS Kidd, had a coronavirus outbreak while at sea in April. At least 80 people aboard the ship tested positive for the virus. It was the second Navy ship to have an outbreak, following the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt of San Diego, with a crew of almost 5,000.

Diners eat outside The Commons on Friday at Naval Station Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Diners eat outside The Commons on Friday at Naval Station Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The Kidd returned to Everett in September, flying the skull-and-crossbones flag as it pulled into Port Gardner.

On base, more than 500 people have used the barracks for isolation, but that does not mean they all had the virus, Ching said.

Naval Station Everett has four barracks buildings, with room for about 1,000 sailors. The number of people who actually live on base tends to fluctuate, Ching said.

One of the barracks was turned into a quarantine space early in the pandemic. Sailors who lived there have been set up with other accommodations.

Davis is trying to protect the base now more than ever, since Snohomish County and the rest of the country have seen record coronavirus case numbers the past couple of weeks. He’s implemented state safety guidelines as a foundation and added more.

On Tuesday, Gary Hauff of Economic Alliance Snohomish County asked how the community can help the naval station during the pandemic.

“I think what we can do to help military families and collectively help each other is to do everything in our power to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID,” Davis said. “What I really want is to stop the spread, to limit the current outbreak. I think the more we do that right now, the better off we will be in the long run.”

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192;; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee speaks with special ed Pre-K teacher Michelle Ling in her classroom at Phantom Lake Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash. Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool)
Governor: Educators are now eligible for coronavirus vaccine

“This should give educators more confidence,” Jay Inslee said. Other frontline workers could soon be next.

A view of the courtyard leading to the main entrance of the new Stanwood High building on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020 in Stanwood, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Law gives Washington high school seniors leeway to graduate

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that can waive some requirements for students who were on track before the pandemic.

About a dozen metal dinosaurs sit in the front yard of a home owned by Burt Mason and Mary Saltwick on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 in Freeland, Washington. The couple are used to finding strangers in their yard and taking photos. Every year on their trip to Tucson, Burt and Mary bring home another figure  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Dinos on Whidbey? This Freeland yard is a Jurassic Park

These creatures from long ago won’t chomp or chase you, and you’re welcome to visit.

Maryville Getchell High School students Madison Dawson, left, Kaden Vongsa and Jenasis Lee, who made a presentation to their school board discussing mental health, lack of resources and personal stories of their peers mental health struggles. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Students plead for better mental health support from schools

Three Marysville Getchell seniors want more counselors and improved training for staff.

Parked tractor-trailers line the side of 40th Avenue NE on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Worker wonders why dead end Marysville road is rough and rutty

A stretch of 40th Avenue NE is mostly used for heavy trucking and isn’t in line for repairs soon.

Camano Island shooting leaves father dead; son arrested

Dominic Wagstaff, 21, was taken into custody late Sunday for investigation of the murder of Dean Wagstaff, 41.

Jean Shumate (left), seen here during a February 2019 school board meeting, will retire June 30 after 20 years at the Stanwood-Camano School District superintendent. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Stanwood-Camano superintendent to retire after 20 years

Jean Shumate has been at the helm longer than any other superintendent in Snohomish County.

Snohomish County Council delays education spending vote

The council is now slated to decide next week on the measure, which targets a pre-K learning gap.

Frances McDormand in "Nomadland." (Searchlight Pictures) 20210304
Masked in a nearly empty theater, a movie outing at last

Just four of us were in the audience for a matinee showing of “Nomadland” at Stanwood Cinemas.

Most Read